Measuring animal welfare in meat & dairy supply chains
The Business Benchmark on Farm Animal Welfare (BBFAW) is a leading global measure of farm animal welfare management, policy commitment, performance and disclosure in 150 of the world’s largest food companies.
The Executive Summary of the latest BBFAW report, published in February 2019, begins with the following key findings:
1. Farm animal welfare is now a leadership issue, with strong commercial drivers for action
2. Companies are improving their management practices, processes and reporting on farm animal welfare
3. Close confinement is seen as a key issue
4. Reporting on farm animal welfare performance is lagging
5. Lack of knowledge (e.g. on the wider business and marketing benefits of higher welfare) and consumer willingness to pay are the key barriers to progress
Read more: https://www.bbfaw.com/publications/
Leading by example
Measuring and monitoring animal welfare standards is one of the most common applications of the Authenticate platform’s Key Performance Indicator (KPI) module. Offering the ability to capture standardised data sets from farms and suppliers on an ongoing basis, tracking an unlimited number of KPI metrics in one place simplifies the process of identifying areas of risk and improving compliance statistics in your supply chain.
The KPI management module has had a transformative effect on the management of protein supply chains for several of the platform’s Enterprise members, including leading UK supermarkets, importers and manufacturers.
Collaborative agricultural management
Scoring a “Tier 1” top spot in the most recent BBFAW leadership rankings, The Cooperative Group have used the Authenticate platform since 2013 to manage supply chains for British beef, pork, lamb, poultry and eggs.
By capturing and analysing certain data points relating to health, welfare and quality, the Authenticate platform helps Coop to build up a comprehensive understanding of their supply chains and ensure that their sourcing standards are being met.
Sam Darley, Agricultural Compliance Manager, explains: “Managing our protein suppliers on the Authenticate platform allows us to gather animal welfare metrics across our farming groups by collecting the KPI data from farms on an ongoing basis.”
Crediting the Coop’s successful implementation of the module to their transparent and collaborative approach, Darley adds: “We provide performance reports to all of our Agricultural Managers, allowing them to discuss the animal welfare metrics with our suppliers on a monthly basis, and additional Gold, Silver or Bronze standards are awarded each year to increase transparency and drive improvement within our farming groups.”
A new gold standard for pigs
Going above and beyond the current animal welfare requirements of UK supermarkets and retailers, leading supplier of continental charcuterie Winterbotham Darby have created their own animal welfare scheme for supplying farms across several countries, including Spain and Italy.
Written by specialists, including vets and academic researchers, the Winterbotham Darby European Farm Partnership (EFP) was reviewed and accredited by the National Accreditation Body UKAS in 2018.
“Animal welfare is really important to us as a business, and consumers do tell us animal welfare is really important to them. We use the platform to manage and monitor compliance against our objectives. For example, every quarter, on each of our farms a vet will go in and conduct an inspection, and the results of those inspections are immediately put onto the platform, so we can see in almost real time how our different farms are operating.”
Simple solutions for dairy farmers
High welfare standards also apply to non-meat products. The Tesco Sustainable Dairy Group was created to monitor animal welfare through quarterly KPIs submitted by dairy farmers supplying into Tesco own-brand cheese and milk products.
Observations of abrasions, mobility and cow condition are submitted on a regular basis, with farmers citing help and support from Authenticate’s client services team and a simple online system that makes it ‘quick and easy to input scores’.