At Waitrose, we believe that animal welfare and good business go hand in hand; this is not just because our customers expect and rely on us to be doing the right thing. Rearing livestock well and ensuring that high welfare standards apply throughout the animal’s life are vital to ensuring the quality of the meat we sell. So, we work closely with our UK farmers to ensure that all the livestock that provide the meat, eggs, milk and other livestock products we sell are reared to the very highest welfare standards.
The five freedoms form the core of our animal welfare standards but we are always looking at ways of developing and improving these:
- Freedom from Hunger and Thirst – by ready access to fresh water and a diet to maintain full health and vigour.
- Freedom from Discomfort – by providing an appropriate environment including shelter and a comfortable resting area.
- Freedom from Pain, Injury or Disease – by prevention or rapid diagnosis and treatment.
- Freedom to Express Normal Behaviour – by providing sufficient space, proper facilities and company of the animal’s own kind.
- Freedom from Fear and Distress – by ensuring conditions and treatment, which avoid mental suffering.
Waitrose welfare requirements extend beyond basic Red Tractor Assurance with bespoke standards that farmers must adhere to; all our UK supply chains are independently audited on a regular basis. Close confinement systems, including farrowing crates and caged hens, are not used and stocking densities are lower than average across the supply chain. Journey times are much shorter than the legal maximum, with Waitrose implementing our own maximum travel time requirements for some supply chains.
All supply chains are committed to eradicating on-farm mutilation with procedures such as fish fin clipping forbidden and pig tail docking only permitted with veterinary recommendation. We are committed to finding alternatives to all forms of livestock mutilation.
Production is kept as natural as possible by providing environmental and social enrichment, utilising a high forage diet for ruminant species and ensuring that dairy cows graze for at least 120 days out of the year. In fact, during 2016 our conventional (non-organic) dairy farmers managed to graze their herds for an average of 167 days, with some exceeding 200 days.
You can see examples of our key animal welfare policies – general as well as by species – and measures below, along with key performance indicator graphs showing historical welfare outcomes across supply chains that are monitored by our farmers and processors.
All of this is particularly important to Waitrose, as we never buy livestock or meat on the open market. Instead we only work with farmers we know and trust and who share our values.
Our Agriculture Manager, in conjunction with the Waitrose Farming Partnership Livestock Steering Group (WFP LSG), is charged with the overall responsibility for animal welfare in the Waitrose Supply Chain. Members of the WSP-LSG are all livestock experts from Waitrose and its dedicated suppliers.
Waitrose and its suppliers have won the Compassion in World Farming Good Chicken Award, Good Egg Award, Good Pig Award, Good Dairy Award and have been named CiWF Compassionate Supermarket of the Year several times (2004, 2006, 2010, 2011) as well as The Best Retailer Award in 2015 and 2017. We have also been awarded the CiWF Best Marketing Award for our Dairy Grazing Campaign in 2016 and a CiWF Cage Free Award for our work with our authentic Continental Supply Chains.
In 2015, we moved into the top tier of the BBFAW reporting index.
Waitrose recognises the potential risks to human healthcare of the overuse of antibiotics in livestock supply chains. This is why, within the Waitrose supply chain, all antibiotics are used carefully, under strict protocols and only in controlled circumstances; entirely healthy animals are not routinely given antibiotics, they are only used for treating ill animals or for those with pre-existing conditions. We maintain that some antibiotics are important medicines to hold in the animal health armoury but they must be used sparingly, under the close supervision of a veterinary surgeon and only as a last resort when other courses of action have proved ineffective and when welfare would be seriously compromised if they weren’t prescribed. This protocol applies to all our supply chains, including aquaculture.
Across the Waitrose Supply chain, we have formed a cross species Responsible Animal Health Group to share best practice in this area. One specific area of concern is the use of critically important antibiotics (CIAs), which we define in line with the World Health Organisation (WHO)/European Medicines Agency (EMA) recommendations with the addition of Colistin. CIAs are rarely prescribed and none of our supply chains ever use Colistin to treat livestock. All our own label supply chains are working with urgency towards continuous and significant year on year reductions in usage of all antibiotics and have pledged to end the use of all CIAs as soon as possible.
Our supply chains are focusing on the collation of antibiotic useage data for all livestock and aquaculture and are prioritising a greater emphasis on preventative screening for disease.
Antibiotic usage data
The Veterinary Antibiotic Resistance and Sales Surveillance (VARSS) Report 2016 highlights how the UK Agriculture Industry needs to work to reduce its antibiotic usage, to aid the overall Global initiative to decrease the use of antibiotics in an effort to effect an improvement in antimicrobial resistance. The average UK levels recorded in livestock at 45 mg/kg PCU (population control unit) in 2016 (see below), compares with 62 mg/kg PCU in 2014 and 57 mg/kg PCU in 2015.
The 2016 VARSS report outlined the Government’s commitment to reduce antibiotics used in livestock and fish farmed for food to a multi-species average of 50mg/kg by 2018. This target was set out in the O’Neill report published in summer 2015.
Since 2014, Waitrose, in conjunction with its suppliers have developed strategies and policies to reduce the total use of antibiotics across its supply chains, whilst keeping animal welfare at the forefront of any decisions.
In addition, an escalation process has been put in place to only use Critically Important Antibiotics (CIA’s) as a last resort and used only where animal welfare may be compromised.
A proactive approach to Responsible Animal Health has been developed for all livestock supply chains in conjunction with veterinary advisors.
Industry sector targets were developed by Responsible Use of Medicines in Agriculture Alliance (RUMA) and industry for each livestock sector with the aim to reduce antibiotic usage by 2020. These are set out in the table below.
The Waitrose 2016 sector data, presented below, is broadly under the 2020 target already. All supply chains have committed to minimise the use of antibiotics, including CIA’s, where appropriate.
*NB. No mg/PCU is available for eggs so the number of days hens are medicated are counted (%)
xx mg divided by xx kg = xx mg/PCU
1 PCU = 1 kg. For example a 50 mg/PCU figure for food producing animals would mean that on average, and over the course of a year, 50 mg of antibiotic active ingredient was used for every kg of bodyweight at time of treatment.
Auditing and compliance
All our supply chains are independently audited and we take any non-compliance of our animal welfare requirements very seriously indeed. Anyone found in serious breach of our standards can expect to be removed from our supply chain
The birds that provide our chicken are not beak trimmed and we are working with breeders of our laying hens to reduce the need for trimming in those flocks; 80% of our laying hens ARE NOT beak trimmed and we are working towards 100% of our laying hens having full beaks (hot blade trimming is not permitted). We are committed to finding alternatives to all forms of livestock mutilation.
Our policy states that meat, milk, poultry, fish or egg derived from a cloned animal including subsequent generations MUST NOT be used in Waitrose branded products.
Close confinement and animal welfare
Waitrose was a pioneer of and is committed to the removal of close confinement systems from farm production.
None of our own-label British meat or ingredient meat or eggs are sourced from close confinement systems. Today we pride ourselves on only selling free-range eggs and by having lower stocking densities than average throughout our supply chains. Furthermore, all our breeding sows are free range. We are working with our Continental suppliers to improve their systems where needed and to ensure all the animals we source are from farms where the five freedoms play a key role.
In recognition of this we were a recipient of Compassion in World Farming’s inaugural Cage Free Award in 2017.
All our abattoirs are equipped with CCTV to ensure welfare standards are maintained. Footage is independently reviewed on a regular basis.
The use of authentic ingredients is very important to our customers and this is especially true with our authentic continental meats such as Spanish chorizo, German salami, Italian Parma ham and prosciutto, and Belgian Paté.
These authentic products are sourced from known and approved supply chains subjected to independent inspection and verification protocols. They are produced to welfare standards that exceed European legislation.
We have developed our continental pig scheme over the past 10 years, being largely based on the Red Tractor Assurance baseline standard. We employ a rigorous and robust audit and approval programme so that only the best farms are able to supply us. Our scheme is based upon the five freedoms detailed above. A long-term partnership between Waitrose and its supplier has resulted in Compassion in World Farming awarding a Good Pig Award to a major Italian producer for the first time.
Fumagalli, a 4th generation family business based near Lake Como in Northern Italy, work with Winterbotham Darby to exclusively supply Waitrose with the supermarkets’ own label Italian charcuterie. This award has been given in recognition of the work Fumagalli has carried out to raise the bar for pig welfare at their farms with a five-year commitment to meeting higher welfare standards.
Furthermore, following the development of these high welfare standards in Italy, Winterbotham Darby are now implementing the same standards for continental meat across Spain, France and Belgium while their Spanish Iberico supplier has recently been awarded the Good Sow Commendation.
Our work in this area has seen us receive an inaugural Compassion in World Farming’s Cage Free Award.
We pledge that all cows producing milk for Waitrose will spend a minimum of 120 days each year grazing on pasture. In practice, our dairy cows will graze for far longer than 120 days/year but this new pledge sets in stone a minimum standard, strengthening our commitment to animal welfare and ensuring a level of consistency across our dairy farms. We are the only supermarket to make this pledge. During 2016, our conventional dairy herds were grazed for an average of 167 days. Some of our farmers managed to graze their herds for more than 200 days.
The use of growth promoters is strictly prohibited across all our livestock supply chains.
We’re proud of our animal welfare work and the accolades we’ve won and that’s why we put them at the heart of our 2016 marketing campaign. To see the videos visit our youtube channel >
Waitrose TV Advert – watch our Icelandic fishing boats in action.
A day at a free range farm – watch an interview with Rachel Rivers discussing life as a Waitrose egg farmer.
A day at a dairy farm – see a day in the life of David Homer, a Waitrose dairy farmer.
All supply chains are committed to eradicating on-farm mutilation with procedures such as fish fin clipping forbidden and pig tail docking only permitted with veterinary recommendation. We are committed to finding alternatives to all forms of livestock mutilation and although work is ongoing, details of procedures by supply chain is as follows:
- Laying hens – 20% beak trimmed (hot knife method is prohibited)
- Pigs – 75% tail docked.
- Organic/free range pigs – 0% tail docked
- Pigs – teeth are clipped only in exceptional circumstances <0.5%
- Pigs – castration 0%
- Conventional Turkeys – 100% beak trimmed (hot knife method is prohibited)
- Organic Turkeys - 0% beak trimmed
- Fish – 0% fin clipping
- Dairy calves – 95% of retained stock are disbudded
- Dairy calves – 5% polled
- Higher Welfare veal calves: 0% disbudded
- Adult cattle – 20% dehorned
- Hot iron branding – 0%
- Beef Cattle (males) – 100% castration
We are working closely with NGOs such as Compassion in World Farming (ciwf.org.uk), Responsible Use of Medicines in Agriculture Alliance (ruma.org.uk), World Wide Fund for Nature (wwf.org.uk), Marine Stewardship Council (MSC.org), Marine Conservation Society (MSCUK.org), The Soil Association (soilassociation.org), Clientearth (clientearth.org) on projects such as ways to raise heavy weight pigs without castration and the certification of all our fish species by 2017. We have also engaged with a wide range of stakeholders on the use of antibiotics in the livestock supply chain including the World Health Organisation, the National Farmers Union and the Veterinary Medicines Directorate.
All the livestock that provide meat for Waitrose are pre-stunned before slaughter to ensure they are insensitive to pain before being killed.
- Cattle and farmed deer are stunned using captive bolt
- Lambs are electrically stunned
- Pigs are CO2 stunned to kill
- Poultry are CO2 or electrically stunned
All our farmed salmon, sea farmed rainbow trout, rainbow trout, brown trout and halibut are pre-stunned prior to slaughter.
Research and development
At Waitrose, we understand that animal welfare never stands still and we have a number of research and development projects underway with commercial partners to improve the wellbeing of animals in our supply chains. These include (but are not restricted to) research to improve:
- Survival rates of New Zealand lamb through genetic improvements.
- Salmon health in our aquaculture systems.
- Harvesting of farmed salmon.
- Non-lethal predator deterrents on fish farms.
- Dairy cow lameness.
- Dairy herd health and welfare production benchmarking.
- Proactive dairy herd health management – e.g. Bovine Viral Diarrohea eradication plans and Johne’s disease eradication.
- Tail biting in pigs.
- Kyphosis (humpback) reduction in piglets.
- Slaughter welfare of pigs.
- Stocking rates for pigs.
- Relationships between farmers and vets.
- Stress levels in cattle – including when in the lairage.
- Pelvic floor measurement in heifers.
- Disbudding of cattle.
- Liver fluke monitoring in cattle.
- Air quality for young ducklings.
- Natural daylight in duck houses.
- Pododermatitis in turkeys.
- Enhanced farm bio security in turkeys.
- Water hygiene in turkeys.
- Electrical stunning in poultry.
- Range enrichment in poultry.
- Feather pecking in poultry.
- The implementation of farm welfare outcomes.
- Biological control of sea lice in salmon farms
We do not accept TB reactor cattle into the Waitrose supply chain.
Our farmers work to strict animal welfare protocols ensuring the highest standards of husbandry and welfare to ensure stress free, naturally produced, healthy cattle. During spring and summer, cattle are reared on open pasture and during winter protective shelter is made available in bedded barns. Cattle are finished on a natural forage-based diet. If grass is in short supply, cattle are fed other natural options such as silage. Stocking densities are carefully controlled and lower than average.
All bull calves born into our dairy herds move into the beef supply chain through our Cattle Connect Scheme and provide either ethical veal or beef for Waitrose.
Transport and slaughter of beef cattle
Welfare of cattle going to slaughter and when at the abattoir is of the utmost importance to us. All cattle are transported directly to the abattoir by Red Tractor approved hauliers.
This ensures all vehicles and drivers meet required standards to ensure our welfare standards are met. All our farmers must be located within a six-hour drive of the abattoir; most are within a four-hour drive. The legal time limit for a cattle journey in the UK is eight hours.
Our abattoir is approved by Red Tractor, RSPCA Assured and the Soil Association and is regularly inspected. Our slaughter facilities were designed incorporating the ideas of leading animal behaviourist Temple Grandin and purpose built to ensure a quiet and stress free environment for the cattle. All staff members involved in the handling of cattle at the abattoir must be trained in welfare friendly animal handling methods and demonstrate a sufficient level of competence before being allowed to handle any livestock. Like the rest of our livestock supply chain, a vet inspects the animals on arrival at the processing plant.
Our essential Waitrose chicken is grown on family owned farms in Northern Ireland.
What makes our ‘entry level’ chicken different to that available elsewhere is that the birds are raised in houses that provide lots of natural daylight and space when compared with a conventional poultry unit. The birds that provide the meat for essential Waitrose chicken have around 25% more space than other birds and we also ensure they have environmental enrichment to help them display their natural behaviour to scratch, perch and play.
Straw bales and perches are two of the tools we use to do this. Bedding is refreshed regularly and fresh food and water are available at all times. Beak trimming is not carried out in any flocks that supply Waitrose chicken. Like all our chicken, essential Waitrose chicken is raised on farms close to the processing plant – within 45 miles in fact.
Our Omega 3 chicken is raised to essential Waitrose welfare standards.
Our Free Range Chicken is truly free range and given plenty of room to roam outside, while being housed in airy, well-lit sheds. These birds are housed at lower stocking densities than our essential Waitrose birds – around 10% less stock per house. They have around one m/sq per bird of outdoor space and are a slower growing breed than our conventional chickens. Bedding is refreshed regularly and fresh food and water are available at all times. Outdoor range enrichment is provided by hedgerows and trees to further encourage natural behaviours.
Waitrose organic chickens are raised with the lowest stocking density of all and have around four m/sq per bird of outdoor space – under our standards they have to spend half of their life outdoors. Organic finishing sheds have pop holes down the length of the sidewalls, which allow the birds free entry and exit. A concrete apron outside the shed allows droppings to be cleaned up regularly, maintaining litter quality inside the shed. The inside of the shed is bedded with clean chopped straw or wood shavings which is refreshed regularly and, of course, fresh water and feed is available at all times. Outdoor range enrichment is provided through hedgerows and trees to further encourage natural behaviours.
Transport and slaughter of chickens
All our chickens are transported to slaughter by Red Tractor approved hauliers and are processed in one of the most modern poultry processing plants in the country. Like the rest of our livestock supply chain, a vet inspects the birds on arrival at the processing plant. The plant is regularly audited to ensure it meets Waitrose standards; it is also Red Tractor assured.
Duchy Originals from Waitrose organic chicken
These birds are only available in selected branches and are raised to Organic Farmers & Growers Standards, which allow them access to the outdoors for two-thirds of their lives.
Deer for venison
All deer are sourced from specially selected farms in the UK and New Zealand and are reared outdoors through the year. In New Zealand, this is year round, while in the UK some deer maybe housed in straw bedded barns during especially bad weather in winter. Our deer are fed a natural forage based diet, the bulk of which comprises grazed grass or clover enriched swards.
Transport and slaughter of deer
All deer are transported directly to the abattoir using Red Tractor assured hauliers. This ensures all vehicles and drivers meet required standards to ensure our welfare standards are met.
All staff members involved in the handling of deer at the abattoir are trained in welfare friendly animal handling methods and must demonstrate a sufficient level of competence before being allowed to handle any livestock. Like the rest of our livestock supply chain, a vet inspects the animals on arrival at the processing plant.
Our deer are slaughtered at a purpose built bespoke facility that allows the deer to express natural behaviour in a stress free environment.
A brood and move system is the basis for our farming system. Birds arrive on the farm as day-old poults direct from the hatchery. After an initial and carefully controlled brooding stage of about three weeks, the birds are moved to housing with lots of space and natural light. Stocking densities are lower than average ensuring that birds have plenty of space to express natural behaviour.
They also enjoy enrichment such as straw bales. Air quality and temperature are monitored constantly to ensure that the birds are kept comfortable at all times.
Every farm has a veterinary health plan and prescription only medicines are only given for specific reasons, they are never prescribed as a matter of routine. Our high welfare and husbandry standards cover the entire supply chain, from parent stock and hatchery all the way to reception and handling at the processing plant.
Transport and slaughter of ducks
Journey times to plant are short – less than three hours – and are undertaken in a purpose built lorry. Everyone handling the ducks is appropriately trained in bird welfare. Like the rest of our livestock supply chain, a vet inspects the birds on arrival at the processing plant. The inspection includes farm health records and an inspection of the flock. The birds are kept in small groups in a covered lairage before being processed. Waiting times are kept to a minimum to avoid stress.
All Waitrose eggs are laid by free-range hens; none of our eggs are supplied through caged or barn systems. Our essential Waitrose eggs and British Blacktail eggs are laid by hens that live in true free-range systems with plenty of space to exhibit natural behaviours and lots of range enrichment to ensure their wellbeing. Our Duchy Original Organic Eggs are laid by organic free range British Blacktail hens raised in organic systems.
What makes our organic hens different is that they enjoy organic food from birth and they are allowed outside from eight weeks of age. Waitrose only uses free-range egg as an ingredient in its products.
Our entire supply chain for geese is free range and a brood and move system is the basis for our farming system. Birds arrive on the farm as day old poults direct from the hatchery. After an initial and carefully controlled brooding stage of about three weeks, the birds are moved to a paddock where they are free to roam and enjoy the fresh air. Stocking densities are managed to free range levels, ensuring that birds have plenty of space to express natural behaviour. They also enjoy range enrichment such as grassy range and straw bales. Every farm has a veterinary health plan and prescription only medicines are only given for specific reasons, they are never prescribed as a matter of routine.
Our high welfare and husbandry standards cover the entire supply chain, from parent stock and hatchery all the way to reception and handling at the processing plant.
Transport and slaughter of geese
Journey times to plant are short – less than three hours – and are undertaken in a purpose built lorry. Everyone handling the geese is appropriately trained in bird welfare. Like the rest of our livestock supply chain, a vet inspects the birds on arrival at the processing plant. The inspection includes farm health records and an inspection of the flock. The birds are kept in small groups in a covered lairage before being processed. Waiting times are kept to a minimum to avoid stress.
English and Welsh Lamb
It is a Waitrose requirement that our lambs are reared as naturally as possible. Lambs stay with their mothers from birth until weaning; during this time, they suckle naturally and live in family groups. After weaning, lambs stay together as a group but their diet is based entirely on grass and forage. If grass is in short supply because of bad weather, the lambs are fed other natural options such as root crops.
Transport and slaughter of English and
All transportation used to carry animals must comply with all regulations in accordance with legislation, assurance schemes and our other animal welfare protocols.
Lambs are yarded for two to three hours prior to loading for transport to ensure they are comfortable and relaxed in transit. No Waitrose lamb – including Welsh – will have to travel more than 100 miles from farm to slaughter. Many will have only travelled around 30 miles, hauled by the farmers who reared them. Lambs transported from further away will, as with other livestock supply chains, are carried by Red Tractor approved hauliers.
All abattoirs used for our lamb are regularly independently audited to Red Tractor abattoir standard to ensure the high welfare standards at all times. Like the rest of our livestock supply chain, a vet inspects the animals on arrival at the processing plant. All our lambs are electronically stunned before slaughter.
New Zealand lamb
Outside of the British season, we source lamb from selected farmers in New Zealand who also base their farm standards on the Five Freedoms. Lambs have access to water, shade and shelter from harsh weather and each farm is managed by a trained stockperson. All animals are reared outside and receive most of their nutrition from pasture.
Transport and slaughter of New Zealand lamb
When being transported for slaughter, all animal movement must comply with the Code of Recommendations and Minimum Standards for the Welfare of Animal Transport in New Zealand.
This process also includes a driver awareness and training accreditation. This regulates the stocking density, journey time and sets requirements for the availability of food and water. Like the rest of our livestock supply chain, a vet inspects the animals on arrival at the processing plant. All the lambs are electronically stunned before slaughter.
We pledge that all cows producing milk for Waitrose will spend a minimum of 120 days each year grazing in fields. In practice, our dairy cows will graze for far longer than 120 days/year but this new pledge sets in stone a minimum standard, strengthening our commitment to animal welfare and ensuring a level of consistency across our dairy farms. Our farm grazing plans are regularly reviewed by grassland experts. We are the only supermarket to make this 120 days minimum grazing pledge.
Our Waitrose Conventional Milk Scheme incorporates exacting standards to ensure that the dairy cows, at whatever stage of their lives, are treated humanely and with high levels of care and expertise in stock handling. The dairy cattle are required to have access to grazing for a minimum of 120 days every year. In winter, they are sheltered in clean, dry and airy barns with readily available food and water. We are continually reviewing our standards to improve animal welfare wherever we can. We have a bespoke herd health plan for use on farm that covers areas such as bedding, foot care, medicine use and a bespoke nutrition plan.
Duchy Originals from Waitrose Organic milk
Our Duchy Originals from Waitrose Organic Milk comes from cows raised in organic systems. They graze outdoors when field conditions allow while in the winter they are sheltered in bright, airy barns. All our organic farms are asked to demonstrate measureable levels of improving health and welfare managed through natural diets and low stocking rates.
Like all our milk herds, the animals are fed natural diets that according to their physiological needs and their stage of lactation. Farmers focus on breed specific husbandry techniques to ensure stress free cows. Our farms’ accreditation to organic and Red Tractor standards with the addition of our bespoke standards gives independent accreditation for animal welfare.
All surplus dairy bulls born into our dairy supply pool are integrated into our high welfare beef supply chain ensuring they remain in the UK.
Like all Waitrose farmers, great animal welfare is a key priority for our goat farmers. They operate beyond the requirement of the Red Tractor Assurance Scheme and their goats are housed in large airy barns and bedded on fresh straw every day. They are housed in social groups according to their stage of production ensuring a known, secure hierarchy allowing plenty of social interaction. Young kids are raised in specialist nursery units with group housing to ensure social enrichment.
All the billy goats (male) born into our milk herds are reared to provide meat rather than being destroyed at birth.
All of the fresh British pork we sell – along with Waitrose sausages, bacon, British ham and gammon – comes from pigs that are either outdoor bred or outdoor reared. Pigs that supply our essential Waitrose pork are born outdoors – we never use farrowing crates or close confinement stalls.
Weaned pigs – approximately four weeks old – are finished indoors in straw bedded, light and airy buildings. No farms use slatted floors and all growing accommodation is straw based. All our supplying farms have a lower stocking density than the pig industry standard. All our sows spend their entire lives outdoors.
All the pig farms we use must have an emergency plan to deal with any water supply issues and care of animals during extreme weather.
As in the rest of our supply chains, we are committed to eradicating the need for any veterinary mutilation of our livestock; in this regard, we are working on research to reduce further the need for tail docking. In our supply chain pigs’ tails are docked only when recommended by a specialist veterinary surgeon to prevent tail biting, with only the tip removed.
Similarly, the clipping of teeth is only carried out in exceptional circumstances under specialist veterinary advice by trained stockpersons to protect sows’ udders when necessary. Castration is not permitted and farrowing crates are also prohibited.
Free range pigs
As with our essential Waitrose pork, all the sows are kept outdoors their entire lives and live in straw filled arcs and tents on free draining sandy soils. At farrowing, the sows are given their own specific hut for raising the litter until weaning at four weeks old. Having been born outdoors, the growing pigs are raised outdoors in paddocks and allowed to range freely. Within each paddock there is a straw bedded arc for shelter. All farms have a lower stocking density in line with our higher welfare requirements. Stocking density must not exceed 25–30 adult animals per hectare. Tail docking is not allowed under the free-range system as tail biting is not an issue.
Duchy Originals from Waitrose and
Waitrose Organic pigs
We apply the same high welfare standards as free-range pigs above, but pigs are raised to Soil Association organic standards.
Transport and slaughter of pigs
All our pigs are transported directly to the abattoir by hauliers approved by Red Tractor. All drivers must undergo specialist welfare training to ensure the highest standards are met. No journey lasts longer than five hours with the average journey time being three hours. No electric goads are used in the moving and loading of pigs. All lorries have lift up decks and straw bedding is used. In summer, extra water is provided and where possible, pigs are moved in social groups. Like the rest of our livestock supply chain, a vet inspects the animals on arrival at the processing plant. All slaughter is undertaken fully certified and maintained to the standards laid down by British Quality Assured Pork. Dalehead Foods, our processor, recognises and operated within the guidance set out by the Humane Slaughter Association and Freedom Food for animals at the point of slaughter.
Farmed fin fish and other aquaculture
Our essential Waitrose farmed salmon supply partnerships are small to medium sized farming sites, each with an experienced team of husbandry experts.
All farmed fish must be fully traceable to known and audited Waitrose approved farm sites. Audit protocols must include assessment of fish welfare, veterinary care, husbandry, protection of the marine environment and sources of marine based feed ingredients. We do not allow mutilating procedures such as fin clipping on our farmed fish.
All our farmed salmon, sea farmed rainbow trout, rainbow trout, brown trout and halibut are pre-stunned prior to slaughter.
Farmed fish must be independently certified to a recognised third party standard or be working towards achieving certification before 2020 – we have already achieved nearly 90% certification. The following third party certification schemes are recognised for farmed fish: Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC), Global Gap, Global Aquaculture Alliance Best Aquaculture Practice (GAABAP), Friend of the sea (FOS), Soil Association Organic and Naturland Organic.
The scope of the certification must include processing facilities, farms and hatcheries.
Aquaculture activities must be conducted in a manner that is socially responsible and within national rules and regulations, with regard to ILO convention on labour rights, not jeopardising the livelihood of aquaculture workers and local communities as laid out by the John Lewis Responsible Code of Practice.
Farming operations supplying Waitrose must meet the specified base standards set out below:
- Salmonids (Salmon and Trout) – Global Gap and/or Organic (Soil Association, Naturland).
- Marine Fish (Bass, Sea Bream) – Global Gap or Best Aquaculture Practices or Organic.
- Freshwater Fish (Tilapia) – Global Gap or Best Aquaculture Practices or Organic.
- Shellfish (Mussels, Oysters) – Global Gap or Best Aquaculture Practices or Organic.
- Warm water Prawns – Global Gap or Best Aquaculture Practices or Organic.
Farmed fish feed policy
Marine based feed raw materials must only be sourced from responsibly managed fisheries. Waitrose supports the International Fishmeal and Fish Oil Association’s Global Standard and Certification Programme for the Responsible Supply of Fishmeal and Fish Oil (IFFO RS). Marine based ingredients used in the production of Waitrose salmon, trout and halibut are from IFFO RS certified stocks and all farmed fish diets are produced using IFFO RS, MSC or FOS certified marine ingredients. The marine feed ingredients used in the fish feed for Waitrose Organic salmon, Rainbow trout, Brown trout and Halibut are produced from trimmings from fish responsibly caught for human consumption. All diets are certified as organic and all ingredients are fully traceable.
The use of non-marine ingredients in feed diets is permitted under the Waitrose Fish Feed policies. However, the inclusion of vegetable protein ingredients must be of non-GMO origin and inclusion rates must not compromise fish welfare or the eating quality and nutritional value of the final product. (It is Waitrose policy to ensure that salmon and trout are fed on a diet that ensures the following levels of EPA/DHA in the finished product to deliver the health and nutritional benefits that our customers expect. Conventional Salmon 1.61g/100g. Organic Salmon 1.5g/100g. Rainbow Trout 1.5g/100g.
The use of processed animal protein (PAP) and animal derived lipids and blood meal are not permitted.
Farmed stocking densities
- Scottish Salmon, 15 kg per cubic metre
- Organic Scottish salmon, 10 kg per cubic metre
- Organic Irish salmon, 10 kg per cubic metre
- Sea farmed Rainbow Trout, 15 kg per cubic metre
- Fresh water trout, 29 kg per cubic metre
- Sea bass, 12 kg per cubic metre
- Halibut, 10 kg per cubic metre
- Sea bream, 12 kg per cubic metre
Farmed fish transport times from harvest to slaughter
- Scottish salmon including; live haul and well boat chilling time – 10 hrs max.
- Scottish salmon dead haul – slaughtered on site.
- Organic Scottish salmon – slaughtered on site.
- Organic Irish salmon – slaughtered on site
- Scottish salt water rainbow trout – less than 30 minutes
- Freshwater Rainbow trout – less than 30 Minutes
- Organic Brown trout – less than 30 Minutes
- Organic rainbow trout – less than 30 Minutes
- Sea Bass – slaughtered on site
- Sea Bream – slaughtered on site
- Honduras King prawns – slaughtered on site
- Ecuador King prawns – slaughtered on site
- Nicaragua King prawns – slaughtered on site
- Indonesia King prawns – slaughtered on site
- Thailand King prawns – slaughtered on site
- Vietnam King prawns – slaughtered on site
- Ecuador Organic king prawns – slaughtered on site
- Scottish Mussels – not applicable sold live
- Chilean mussels – 24 hours from harvest to process
- Peruvian scallops – 24 hours from harvest to process
- Madagascar Organic tiger prawns – slaughtered on site
- Indonesia Organic tiger prawns – slaughtered on site
- Jersey oysters – not applicable, sold live
- Scottish oysters – not applicable, sold live
Farmed fish third-party certification
- Scottish salmon – Global Gap and RSPCA Freedom Foods certified
- Organic Scottish salmon – Soil Association Certified
- Organic Irish salmon – Organic Food Federation
- Scottish freshwater rainbow trout – Global Gap certified
- Scottish salt water rainbow trout – Global gap certified
- Freshwater Rainbow trout – British Trout association certified
- Organic Brown trout – Soil Association certified
- Organic rainbow trout – Soil Association certified
- Sea Bass – Global gap certified
- Sea Bream – Global Gap certified
- Honduras King prawns – Global aquaculture alliance – Best Aquaculture Practices and Aquaculture Stewardship Council certified
- Thailand King prawns – Global aquaculture alliance – Best Aquaculture Practices and Aquaculture Stewardship Council certified
- Vietnam King prawns – Global aquaculture alliance – Best Aquaculture Practices and Aquaculture Stewardship Council certified
- Ecuador King prawns – Global aquaculture alliance – Best Aquaculture Practices and Aquaculture Stewardship Council certified
- Nicaragua King prawns – Global aquaculture alliance – Best Aquaculture Practices and Aquaculture Stewardship Council certified
- Indonesia King prawns – Global aquaculture alliance – Best Aquaculture Practices and Aquaculture Stewardship Council certified
- Ecuador Organic king prawns – Naturland certified
- Scottish Mussels – Marine Stewardship Council and friend of the sea certified
- Chilean mussels – Aquaculture Stewardship Council certified, MSC certified and best aquaculture practices
- Peruvian scallops – Friend of the Sea certified
- Madagascar Organic tiger prawns – Organic French AB certification
- Indonesia Organic tiger prawns – Naturland certified
- Jersey oysters – Aquaculture Stewardship Council certified
All Waitrose Turkeys are farmed in England and the Republic of Ireland and are kept to our award winning standards of animal welfare. Unlike others, even our entry level essential Waitrose turkeys are farmed to higher welfare standards, with natural daylight, fresh air, room to move around and always fed a diet free from GM soya protein as a minimum standard.
Free Range turkeys
Waitrose free-range turkeys are raised on selected small farms in the UK and Ireland. They are provided with both indoor shelter and outdoor range areas during their growing period. Access to grass paddock is unrestricted during daytime hours for at least half the birds’ life and housing is available for them to return to shelter. Range areas are predominantly grass and areas of interest such as straw bales, trees, scrub and mixed vegetation are provided for range enrichment.Waitrose organic turkeys
Waitrose organic turkeys
Waitrose organic turkeys are raised in England and Ireland and are broadly similar to free range but with additional requirements to meet the Organic regulations and the Waitrose bespoke requirements. Stocking densities are very low, like our free-range birds with plenty of available environmental enrichment. Waitrose organic turkeys are not beak trimmed.
Duchy Originals from Waitrose Organic turkeys
Duchy Originals from Waitrose organic turkeys are raised in England. A slow growing bronze feathered breed, they are raised to the same high standards as our other organic turkeys. None of our organic turkeys are beak trimmed.
Transport and slaughter of turkeys
All our turkeys are transported to slaughter under National Welfare of Animals (Transport) regulations, which cover welfare and safety standards. All drivers involved in moving turkeys have received formal independent training in bird welfare. Farms are located within four hours’ drive of the plant and transport vehicles are specifically designed for the movement of turkeys. Like the rest of our livestock supply chain, a vet inspects the birds on arrival at the processing plant.
Higher Welfare Veal (Rose Veal)
Waitrose pioneered the sale of UK-produced High Welfare Veal. We have one dedicated veal supplier that we have worked with for more than 30 years. The veal calves are reared in groups in large, airy barns bedded with deep straw with lots of room to move around. They have access to ad-lib milk and are offered some home-grown cereals to supplement and enhance their diet. We have an integrated supply chain and our veal calves originate from the Waitrose dairy supply chain; this ensures that our male calves are not slaughtered at birth or exported.
Transport and slaughter of veal calves
The export of veal calves is prohibited. Veal calves are transported to the abattoir by one dedicated, Red Tractor approved haulier and all drivers are properly trained in animal welfare.
The haulier ensures that welfare is maximised for the calves by ensuring lots of straw and sawdust are used in the vehicle to maximise their comfort. The welfare of the veal calves at the abattoir is of the utmost importance to Waitrose.
Our abattoir has been purpose built with the help of animal welfare experts and to the ideas of Temple Grandin; the facility operates a detailed animal welfare policy. As with our other livestock supply chains, all staff must demonstrate high levels of competence before being allowed to handle cattle. Like the rest of our livestock supply chain, a vet inspects the animals on arrival at the processing plant.
Welfare outcomes and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
Waitrose livestock schemes have evolved over the last 20 years and are underpinned by an ethos of continuous improvement. This includes the regular review of both technical and financial performance; trends in welfare outcomes and investment in a wide ranging Research and Development portfolio which has improvements in animal welfare at its heart. These research projects are done with a wide number of reputable educational establishments providing the opportunity for emerging scientists to work closely with our livestock supply chains. In conjunction with our suppliers we monitor a wide range of key welfare performance indicators to ensure continuous welfare improvement for the animals in our supply chains. The key measures are included below and on the attached charts.
1A. Average travel time for livestock sourced by Waitrose during 2016
Average journey times
Measured from start of loading until last animal has entered lairage.
1B. Average travel time for livestock sourced by Waitrose during 2015
Average journey times
Measured from start of loading until last animal has entered lairage.
1C. Average travel time for livestock sourced by Waitrose during 2014
Average journey times
Measured from start of loading until last animal has entered lairage.
1D. Average travel time for livestock sourced by Waitrose during 2013
Average journey times
Measured from start of loading until last animal has entered lairage.