Waitrose animal welfare commitments


Animal Welfare is a priority for Waitrose. We hold ourselves and our suppliers to standards that ensure animals raised for Waitrose own-label products are treated humanely and with compassion throughout our supply chain.

The foundations of our principles are based on the Five Freedoms :

  1. Freedom from hunger and thirst through ready access to fresh water and a diet to maintain full health and vigour
  2. Freedom from discomfort through the provision of an appropriate environment including shelter and a comfortable resting place
  3. Freedom from pain, injury or disease through prevention or rapid diagnosis and treatment
  4. Freedom to express normal behaviour through the provision of  sufficient space, proper facilities and company of the animal’s own kind
  5. Freedom from fear and distress through the provision of appropriate, high quality living conditions and humane treatment to avoid mental suffering

Our commitments

  • We are committed to ensuring that all the livestock  we source and those animals that produce our eggs and milk have a meaningful life that is worth living; this is why we require the same animal welfare standards for all sectors rather than just a few
  • We work with our processors to minimise journey times from the farm to processor and to ensure lairages are designed to deliver the highest standards of animal welfare at all times
  • All processing plants are subject to regular visits by independent experts in addition to our internal teams to ensure best practise is being delivered at all times
  • We require all processing sites to have CCTV installed at the point of slaughter and all animals must be subject to pre-slaughter stunning
  • We will exclude any animals that have been produced through genetic engineering or cloning from our supply chains
  • We don’t accept TB reactor beef cattle into our supply chains
  • The use of artificial growth promoting substances is prohibited across all our livestock supply chains
  • Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are routinely monitored and reported to Waitrose for all our livestock supply chains and thresholds are set to drive best practise through the breeding, growing/producing and processing supply chains
  • We will introduce a range of Welfare Outcome measures to assess the wellbeing of our livestock in conjunction with other stakeholders;  but we reserve the right to monitor additional  indicators if we believe it is appropriate and the right thing to do for the animals
  • We will work to get our animal welfare standards endorsed by appropriate organisations that have experience and expertise in this area
  • Our livestock protocols have been developed from many years of practical experience along with scientific evidence combined with a deep understanding of what our customers expect of Waitrose
  • Where we find areas that require development we initiate research projects supported by the appropriate academic and technical expertise