This policy covers our Own Brand products, both our food & non-food (as a by-product of food production) products.) We take animal welfare seriously and are committed to treat all animals in our supply chain humanely at all life stages.
Our animal welfare policy applies to all our Own Brand products in all geographies and businesses. It covers animal testing, farmed animals used in food or non-food products and the sale of pets, other live animals and pet accessories.
We do not commission or carry out testing on animals for pharmaceutical, cosmetic or household products. Where animal testing is required by law for food safety purposes, we require that these are carried out in line with applicable regulation.
Our approach to animal welfare for farmed animals, pets and other live animals applies from breeding to rearing, transport and – where applicable – slaughter. This approach is based on and endorses the following Five Freedoms, proposed by Farm Animal Welfare Council (FAWC):
- Freedom from hunger and thirst
- Freedom from discomfort
- Freedom from pain, injury or disease
- Freedom to express normal behaviour
- Freedom from fear and distress
To achieve these principles we work collaboratively with our suppliers, growers and farmers and fishermen, as well as researchers, vets and welfare NGOs to identify ways in which high standards of animal welfare can be assured in a manner that is achievable for our supply base. We will continuously review our frameworks, processes and guidance to develop our approach to animal welfare and support our farming and supply chain partners. In addition to the Five Freedoms we adopt the following overarching principles:
- We do not allow the use of GM ingredients in Own Brand products in all our businesses across all geographies. We do not prohibit the use of GM feed in the production of our non-organic meat, eggs and milk. We offer an organic range for those customers who prefer to avoid products from animals who may have had GM feed. Animals used to produce all our Own Brand organic range of meat, eggs and milk are reared on non-GM feed. Click here for our full GM policy.
- Animals subject to cloning and/or their progeny or descendants are not allowed into our supply chain in any of our businesses across all geographies. This includes all meat, poultry and fin fish.
At Executive Committee level, our Chief Product Officer has ultimate responsibility over our Responsible Sourcing agenda, of which animal welfare is a key part. The day to day governance and implementation of our animal welfare policy is overseen by Group Quality Director who reports into the Executive Product Director.
Farmed animals for food and non-food
Within our food business we aim for high animal welfare standards across all farming systems – from breeding and rearing through to transport and slaughter.
We have committed to stop sourcing eggs from caged hens by 2028 in our Thailand business. We are also committed to have all pre-packed pork meat come from cage-free sows by 2027.
We recognise the importance of antibiotics in both human and animal medicine and the threat from improper use in livestock supply chains. It is for this reason that we make sure antibiotics are used responsibly. Our approach is to require our producers to use antibiotics as sparingly as possible without compromising animal welfare.
Antibiotics are not used routinely or as growth promoters in all of our businesses across all geographies. Where it is necessary to treat an animal, it must be done under veterinary supervision with the vet deciding which type of antibiotic is appropriate. All antibiotic usage must be recorded in a veterinary health plan, which must be regularly reviewed by both the vet and farmer.
We are actively working to reduce use of antibiotics in our supply chain through our supplier partnerships and sustainable farming groups. Going forward, targeted reduction strategies and sharing of best practice will help us achieve significant year on year reductions in antibiotic use in our supply chains.
Live animals and pet accessories
Where we sell live animals for human consumption such as carp, we apply standards to ensure high levels of animal welfare in store and at the point of slaughter. Slaughter is always carried out humanely using recognised methods by a trained member of staff. All pet accessories sold in our stores, such as collars or bowls, undergo rigorous testing to ensure that they are safe and comfortable for the animal. Instructions for use are clearly stated on the label.
We do not sell exotic species (such as crocodile, ostrich, kangaroo) anywhere in our Group Business and use The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) to define exotic.
We are committed to reviewing our frameworks and processes, contributing to raising industry standards and supporting our farming and supply chain partners to continuously improve animal welfare outcomes.