Animal welfare

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Waitrose & Partners wins best retailer for animal welfare standards

Our animal welfare standards are some of the best in the country. We know this because Waitrose & Partners has retained the award for best retailer in Europe for our farm animal welfare standards.  

Animal welfare organisation Compassion in World Farming (CiWF) judged our standards better than those of 27 other retailers in Europe, including 10 in the United Kingdom. 

CiWF uses its Supermarket Survey to judge the winner based on a company’s animal welfare standards for laying hens, broiler chickens, dairy cows and calves, sows and meat pigs and farmed fish. 


Dr Tracey Jones, CiWF director of food business said; ‘We’ve been working closely with Waitrose & Partners for many years and have been impressed by their consistent determination to be the best when it comes to farm animal welfare. They continually strive to do what is right, both for the animals and for their customers, making them true leaders in Europe.’ 

We are proud to hold the following farm animal welfare awards from Compassion in World Farming: 

•        Best Retailer in Europe: 2019, 2017, 2015 
•        Best Retailer Marketing Award: 2019, 2017 
•        Inaugural Cage Free Award (held since 2017 and made possible by our partnership with                               Winterbotham Darby, who supply our authentic continental pig meat)
•        The Good Pig Award (held since 2012)
•        The Good Dairy Award (held since 2011)
•        The Good Chicken Award (held since 2010)
•        The Good Egg Award (held since 2008)
•        Most Compassionate Supermarket: 2004, 2006, 2010 

'It takes a lot of passion, dedication and hard work to maintain the high standards we have become famous for and we owe a considerable amount to the longstanding relationships we have with our farmers and our processors for building that. Without their loyalty and commitment, our pursuit and retention of such pioneering standards would not be possible,'  Duncan Sinclair, Waitrose & Partners Agriculture Manager said.

Read more about the CiWF retailer awards here

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Our standards stack up against the global benchmark 

Waitrose & Partners has retained it's tier one ranking in 2019's Business Benchmark on Farm Animal Welfare (BBFAW). The BBFAW is the leading global measure of farm animal welfare management, policy commitment, performance and disclosure in food companies.

We are one of only five businesses globally to achieve  this and have moved up three rankings in the report since 2012.

At Waitrose & Partners, we believe that animal welfare and good business go hand in hand, 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 and fish we sell.

We work closely with our UK farmers to ensure that all the livestock that provide the meat, poultry, eggs, milk and fish 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. 

1. Freedom from Hunger and Thirst – by ready access to fresh water and a diet to maintain full health and vigour.

2. Freedom from Discomfort – by providing an appropriate environment including shelter and a comfortable resting area.

3. Freedom from Pain, Injury or Disease – by prevention or rapid diagnosis and treatment.

4. Freedom to Express Normal Behaviour – by providing sufficient space, proper facilities and company of the animal’s own kind.

5. Freedom from Fear and Distress – by ensuring conditions and treatment, which avoid mental suffering.

Waitrose Farming Partnership

However, we believe we need to go beyond the universal five freedom measures of animal welfare.

We recognise that as sentient beings animals have the ability to both feel pain and experience positive emotions such as joy and pleasure. As such, whilst we currently capture a breadth of welfare outcome measures we feel it is the right time to explore further measures such as those underpinning the freedom to express positive emotions. We have been actively working with independent industry experts including academics, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and animal welfare specialists to develop the extended list of outcome measures for each supply chain. In 2018, the expert panel, suppliers and ourselves formed the Waitrose Animal Welfare Development Group and we aim to share the findings by 2020.

Our approach to animal welfare

In our UK supply chains, Waitrose & Partners welfare requirements extend beyond basic Red Tractor Assurance with bespoke, independently verified standards that farmers must adhere to. 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 & Partners implementing our own maximum travel time requirements for some supply chains. We conduct our own assessments of farm management practices, and farms are independently audited by the relevant assurance schemes, supplemented by our own bespoke standards (detailed below). Our hauliers undergo livestock handling and welfare training and our slaughter sites are reviewed by the Humane Slaughter Association.

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. We use a high forage diet for ruminant species and make sure that dairy cows graze for at least 120 days out of the year. In fact, during 2018 our conventional (non-organic) dairy farmers managed to graze their herds for an average of 173 days, with our Organic dairy farmers averaging 208 days.

Our animal welfare policies, key performance indicator graphs and historical welfare outcomes across supply chains are shown below. These results are monitored by our farmers and processors. All of this is important to Waitrose & Partners, 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 and Aquaculture and Fisheries Manager, in conjunction with the Waitrose Farming Partnership Livestock Steering Group (WFP LSG) and the Waitrose Farming Partnership Fish Forum (WFP FF), are charged with the overall responsibility for animal welfare in our supply chain. Members of the LSG are all livestock experts from Waitrose & Partners and its dedicated suppliers and our technical team has animal welfare training. For example, at Bristol University’s Poultry / Animal Welfare Officer training and the University of the Highlands and Islands’ course on Fish Welfare.

The John Lewis Partnership Corporate Responsibility Committee (comprising members of the Waitrose & Partners and John Lewis Management boards) has oversight of our corporate responsibility strategy and priority issues, including animal welfare.

Snapshot of our UK farms

Waitrose & Partners snapshot of UK farms 2019 - fish, pork and lamb
Waitrose & Partners snapshot of UK farms 2019 - eggs, dusk and geese, milk
Waitrose & Partners snapshot of UK farms 2019 - chicken, turkey, beef, veal and venison

General policies 
All our policy commitments, unless explicitly stated otherwise, apply to all of our own-brand supply chains. These include all UK supply, New Zealand (NZ) lamb and venison and our authentic continental pig meat sourced from Europe via our partner Winterbotham Darby.

We have long-standing relationships with most of our livestock and fish suppliers, dating back over 20 years. Specific requirements for high standards of animal welfare are built into our formal contractual arrangements and closely monitored as part of our auditing and farm visit schedule. We work closely with our own-brand supply chains to ensure high standards are upheld. In addition to our own-brand products, we also sell branded products in stores which are produced by a range of companies from household names to small local suppliers.

Branded goods represent approximately 45% of Waitrose sales by volume. Our influence over the policies and performance of branded goods is more limited. We are however, actively exploring how best to work with branded suppliers to influence positive change for animal welfare in the wider industry.

We have already taken concrete steps to apply sustainability policies to high impact areas for branded goods. For example, we work with our branded tuna suppliers to improve their sustainability credentials. We are committed to ensuring that all our branded canned tuna is either Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certified or pole and line caught. All Waitrose & Partners own-brand canned tuna has been pole and line caught since 2009 and MSC certified since 2013. This builds on our own responsible fish sourcing programme which has been running for nearly 20 years. 

For eggs, We do not sell any own-brand quail eggs or duck eggs. These branded products are from Clarence Court and produced from birds free from confinement and reared to higher welfare standards.

Antibiotics 

Waitrose & Partners recognises the potential risks to human healthcare of the overuse of antibiotics in livestock supply chains. That's why within the Waitrose & Partners supply chain, all antibiotics are used carefully, under strict protocols and only in controlled circumstances.

Healthy animals are not routinely given antibiotics, they are only used for treating illness 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. This is done under the close supervision of a veterinary surgeon 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 & Partners livestock supply chains, we have a cross-species Responsible Animal Health Group to share best practice in this area. One area of concern is the use of critically important antibiotics (CIAs). Our definition of CIAs is 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 use Colistin to treat livestock. All our own label supply chains are working towards significant year-on-year reductions in antibiotic use and have pledged to end using all CIAs as soon as possible.

Our supply chains are focused on collating antibiotic usage data for all livestock and aquaculture and prioritising disease screening and vaccinations to prevent disease occurring. Waitrose & Partners is part of the Food Industry Initiative on Antimicrobials. This group of retailers, manufacturers, processors and food service companies come together to promote and support responsible antimicrobial use and action on antimicrobial resistance (AMR). This initiative has three groups; Responsible Use, Data and Research & Development, which supports existing industry groups to ensure work is aligned and no duplication of efforts.

Antibiotic usage data

The Veterinary Antibiotic Resistance and Sales Surveillance (VARSS) Report 2017 highlights how the UK agriculture industry has made progress to reduce its antibiotic usage. This is aligned to the global initiative to decrease the use of antibiotics with the aim of an overall improvement in AMR. 

The average UK levels recorded in livestock in 2017 were 37 mg/kg of population control unit (PCU) compared with 45 mg/kg PCU in 2016, 57 mg/kg PCU in 2015 and 62 mg/kg PCU in 2014. It confirmed a 40% reduction from 2013 when the first five-year AMR strategy was published. 

Since 2014, Waitrose & Partners, in conjunction with its suppliers, have developed strategies and policies to reduce the total use of antibiotics across its supply chains, while keeping animal welfare at the forefront of any decisions. In addition, an escalation process was put in place to use CIAs only as a last resort and only where animal welfare may be compromised without treatment. 

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 the Responsible Use of Medicines in Agriculture Alliance (RUMA) and industry for each livestock sector to reduce antibiotic usage by 2020. 

The Waitrose & Partners 2016-2018 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. We were pleased to have our leading work in this area recognised as a finalist in the Antibiotic Guardian Awards 2018.

Waitrose & Partners mg/PCU data 2016-18
Waitrose & Partners Farming Partnership - investments in the future of farming

Auditing and compliance

All our supply chains are independently audited and we take any non-compliance of animal welfare requirements very seriously. We conduct our own responsible sourcing assessments, and farms are independently audited by the relevant livestock assurance schemes.

Our hauliers undergo livestock handling and welfare training and our slaughter sites are reviewed by the Humane Slaughter Association. Anyone found in serious breach of Waitrose & Partners standards would be removed from our supply chain.

Beak trimming

We are committed to finding more humane, high welfare options for rearing and processing our animals. Our birds for chicken are not beak trimmed and we have been working with breeders of our laying hens to reduce the need for trimming in those flocks. In 2018, 90.5% of our own laying hens were free from beak trimming. We are proud that 100% of our British Blacktail laying hens are free of beak trimming. We are the only retailer in the UK who has achieved this.

Cloning

Our policy states that meat, milk, poultry, fish or egg derived from a cloned animal including subsequent generations must not be used in Waitrose own-brand products. This policy also applies on a commitment basis (by 2026) to all branded goods. 

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-brand British meat, ingredient meat or eggs are sourced from close confinement systems. Today we pride ourselves on only selling free-range eggs – both whole eggs and for all our ingredients – and by having lower stocking densities than average throughout our supply chains.

All our UK breeding sows are free range and we are working with our Continental Pig suppliers to improve their systems where needed. This is to ensure all 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. In our branded goods, all of our shell eggs (hen, duck, and quail) are free from confinement.

CCTV

All our abattoirs have been equipped with CCTV since 2012 to ensure welfare standards are maintained. Footage is independently reviewed on a regular basis by appropriate parties including the Food Standards Agency (FSA).

Environmental enrichment

We are committed to providing all the animals in our supply chain with an enriched environment so they have the opportunity to display their natural behaviours. For example, our free-range laying hens enjoy an outdoor environment with tree-planting on at least 5% of the range area. They also benefit from bedding, toys, perches, and provision of grit in the house.

Our broiler chickens all have specially designed perches and bales to peck at in their sheds and our turkeys benefit from bales, bedding and perches. Pigs are provided with bedding, or in the case of some continental supply, with toys. Dairy cows graze outside for at least 120 days of the year and cow brushes are provided to all adult milking stock. All pens with milking goat nannies have enrichment provided. All our beef, and venison have bedding provided when indoors.

Grazing

We pledge that all cows producing milk for Waitrose spend a minimum of 120 days each year grazing on pasture. In practice, our dairy cows will graze for far longer but this pledge sets in stone a minimum standard and level of consistency across our dairy farms, strengthening our commitment to animal welfare. We are the only supermarket to make this pledge. Despite a challenging grazing season, in 2018 our conventional dairy herds were grazed for an average of 173 days and our organic herds averaged 208 days.

Growth promoters

The use of growth promoters is strictly prohibited across all our livestock supply chains - they have been banned from use in the European Union since 2006. This policy also applies on a commitment basis (by 2026) to all branded goods.

Lead shot pledge

Waitrose & Partners is the largest retailer of game in the UK. We sell prepared wood pigeon, partridge and pheasant at seasonal times. We are supplied by a single game dealer who ensures all game sourced from leading British shoots is reared to the highest standards. We monitor the shoots we source from and expect them to adhere to our bespoke standards of animal welfare and shoot behaviour.

From the 2019-20 season onwards we will begin phasing out lead shot use on the Estates we source game from. Estates will be required to use lead gun alternatives such as steel or bismuth. By season 2020-21 all Waitrose & Partners game will be brought to bag without the use of lead ammunition.

Marketing

We’re proud of our animal welfare work and the accolades we’ve won. That’s why we put them at the heart of our recent marketing campaigns rolled out in our stores, on social media and print publications.

We know how important our standards are to our customers so we aim to promote our credentials wherever possible. We also use in-store shelf branding information at a customer’s point of sale to promote awards from Compassion in World Farming. We run numerous stories in our weekly newspaper Waitrose Weekend (circulation approx. 500,000) on animal welfare and also in our monthly magazine Waitrose Food.

Our new re-branded Waitrose & Partners marketing campaign, featuring our Agriculture and Aquaculture managers, received the 2019 Marketing Award from Compassion in World Farming. You can watch the video here. To see more of our videos, visit the Waitrose & Partners YouTube channel 

Mutilation

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.

NGOs

We are working closely with NGOs such as Compassion in World Farming, Responsible Use of Medicines in Agriculture Alliance, World Wide Fund for Nature, Marine Stewardship Council, Marine Conservation Society and Clientearth to address welfare and sustainability issues in our livestock and fish supply chains.

Projects include ways to raise heavy weight pigs without castration and the certification of all our fish species by 2020. We have been working on responsible seafood sourcing for over 20 years and our suppliers only source fish from fisheries or farmed aquaculture operations that are responsibly managed.

We recognise a number of independent third-party standards for wild caught and farmed fish including the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) and Aquaculture Stewardship Council. Of our own-brand fish and shellfish, 91.2% comes from verified third party responsible sources with a further 4.5% engaged in Fishery Improvement Projects (FIPs).

We also engage with 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.

waitrose_animal_welfarecommitments_20


To see more of our videos, visit our youtube channel >

Pre-stunning

All the livestock in Waitrose & Partners supply chains are pre-stunned before slaughter to ensure insensitivity to pain before being processed. 

•        Cattle (beef cattle, veal and cull cows) are stunned to kill either electrically or by captive bolt
•        Farmed deer are stunned by captive bolt
•        Dairy cull cows are stunned to kill either electrically or by captive bolt
•        Spent dairy goats are stunned to kill by captive bolt
•        UK and NZ lambs are electrically stunned
•        UK pigs (including cull sows) are CO2 stunned to kill
•        Continental pigs (including cull sows) are CO2 stunned to kill or electrically stunned
•        End-of-lay hens are CO2 stunned to kill – bi-phase
•        Broiler chickens are CO2 stunned to kill – bi-phase
•        Geese and turkeys are electrically stunned
•        Ducks are water-bath stunned
•        All our farmed finfish are pre-slaughter stunned, including:
                ○    Sea farmed rainbow trout – percussive blow followed by aorta cut
                ○    Freshwater rainbow trout – electrical current followed by ice slurry
                ○    Brown trout – electrical current followed by ice slurry   
                ○    Sea bream – electrical current followed by ice slurry 
                ○    Sea bass – electrical current followed by ice slurry     
                ○    Halibut – percussive blow followed by gill cut 
                ○    Salmon – percussive blow followed by aorta cut; or electrical current followed by percussive                     blow and aorta cut 

We are working with academic partners to explore the practicability of introducing a low atmospheric pressure stunning (LAPS) system into our slaughter processes. We hope to make meaningful progress on the introduction of LAPS by 2025.

Research and development

At Waitrose & Partners 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:

•        Salmon health in our aquaculture systems
•        Harvesting of farmed salmonNon-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 Diarrhoea eradication plans and
         Johne’s disease eradication
•        Eliminate tail biting in pigs
•        Reduce Kyphosis (humpback) in piglets
•        Transport / lairage and slaughter welfare of pigs
•        Stocking rates for pigs
•        Relationships between farmers and vets on AMR usage
•        Stress levels in cattle – including when in the lairage
•        Pelvic floor measurement in heifers
•        Pain minimisation / reduction during disbudding of cattle
•        Liver fluke monitoring in cattle
•        Slaughter welfare of cattle, continuously improving accuracy and effectiveness
•        Measuring temperament in the lairage and handling facilities of deer
•        Air and feed quality for young ducklings
•        Natural daylight in duck houses
•        Pododermatitis in turkeys
•        Enhanced farm biosecurity in turkeys
•        Water hygiene in turkeys
•        Whole house brooding with turkeys
•        Increasing the supply of sustainable forage sources via different protein crops
•        Range enrichment in poultry
•        Feather cover, reductions to beak trimming and keel bone damage in laying hens
•        Pasture vegetation for seasonal goose production
•        Biological control of sea lice in salmon farms
•        Investigation of responsible vaccine use
•        Indicators of emotional wellbeing in livestock

Tuberculosis (TB) reactors

We do not accept TB reactor cattle into the Waitrose & Partners supply chain.

Transport

Waitrose & Partners does not permit long-distance live transport or live exports of animals in its UK supply chain. We have transport policies for each of our species and report actual journey times. All of our transport times are below the maximum specified by UK legislation.

Species-specific welfare:

Waitrose & Partners | animal welfare | beef cattle

All our beef is from British cattle. Our farmers adhere to strict protocols ensuring the highest standards of husbandry and welfare to ensure stress-free, naturally produced, healthy cattle. During spring and summer, our cattle are reared on open pasture in social groups 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 the industry average.

Over the last 10 years we have developed the Cattle Connect scheme which sees all bull calves born into dairy herds move into our beef supply chain for higher welfare veal or beef. In turn, dairy bull calves have a productive life which is a key criteria of the Compassion in World Farming Good Dairy Award, which we hold. This also means our dairy calves stay in the UK and are not exported abroad. 

Transport and slaughter of beef cattle

The welfare of cattle during transport and when at the abattoir is highly important to us. All our cattle are transported directly to the abattoir by Red Tractor approved hauliers.

All vehicles and drivers must meet the required welfare standards and all farmers must be located within a six-hour drive of the abattoir, however most are within four hours. The legal time limit for a cattle transport in the UK is eight hours.

Our abattoir is regularly inspected in order to consistently meet approval standards by Tractor, RSPCA Assured and the Soil Association. Our slaughter facilities were purpose built to ensure a quiet and stress-free environment for the cattle, drawing on the concepts of leading animal behaviourist Temple Grandin. 

All staff members at the abattoir must be trained in welfare friendly animal handling methods and have a sufficient level of competence before being allowed to handle any livestock. Like the rest of our livestock supply chain, a veterinarian inspects the animals on arrival at the processing plant.

Waitrose & Partners | animal welfare | chicken

Our essential Waitrose chicken is grown on family farms in Northern Ireland.

What makes our entry level chicken different to that available elsewhere is that birds are raised in houses that provide more natural daylight and space compared with a conventional poultry unit. The birds for essential Waitrose fresh and frozen chicken have around 20% more space than other birds (30kg/m2). We make sure they have environmental enrichment to help display their natural behaviour to scratch, perch and play. Birds have straw bales for nourishment and we have replaced our A frame perches with “platform perching” across all houses.

Bedding is refreshed regularly and fresh food and water is 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 within 50 miles of the processing plant.

Our Omega 3 chicken is raised to essential Waitrose welfare standards.

Our free range chicken is truly free range. Birds are 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 (27.5kg/m2). They have around 1m2 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. Our free range chickens reared for meat have access to the outdoors for a minimum of half their life, roaming tree and shrub covered ranges. Our organic and free range chicken producers have planted over 70,000 trees to provide the ideal environment for our chickens to roam. 

Waitrose organic chickens are raised with the lowest stocking density of all and have around 4m2 per bird of outdoor space. Under Waitrose & Partners standards, they must spend half of their life outdoors. Organic finishing sheds have pop holes down the length of the sidewalls, which gives birds free entry and exit. An apron outside the shed allows droppings to be cleaned up regularly, maintaining litter quality inside the shed. The inside is also bedded with clean chopped straw or wood shavings which is refreshed regularly and fresh water and feed is available at all times. Outdoor range enrichment is provided through hedgerows and trees to further encourage natural behaviours. 

Duchy organic chicken is 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.

Transport and slaughter of chickens


All our chickens are transported for processing by Red Tractor approved hauliers with a maximum transport time of eight hours, however it is usually much less than this. They 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 and the plant is regularly audited to ensure it meets our standards as well as being Red Tractor assured. 

Waitrose & Partners pledges to the European Chicken Commitment

On Monday 4 March 2019, Waitrose & Partners signed the 2026 European Chicken Commitment, pledging to improve the welfare of our farmed chickens. Under the Commitment, also signed by Compassion in World Farming, we pledge that our standards for all fresh, frozen and chicken meat ingredients across all Waitrose own-brand products will meet the requirements by 2026. 

We adhere to most of the requirements already, including stocking density, for all fresh and frozen own label chicken and we intend to deliver on this commitment before the 2026 deadline. Alongside our long-term poultry supplier and research partner Moy Park, we are leading research into new breed requirements that will improve the welfare of our farmed chickens.

European Chicken Commitment requirements

By 2026, we will require our suppliers to meet the following requirements for 100% of our fresh, frozen and ingredient chicken meat, including ambient, in our supply chain:

•        Comply with all EU animal welfare laws and regulations, regardless of the country of production
•        Implement a maximum stocking density of 30kg/m2 or less. Thinning is discouraged and if
          practiced must be limited to one thin per flock
•        Adopt breeds that demonstrate higher welfare outcomes: Hubbard JA757, 787, 957 or 987,
           Rambler Ranger, Ranger Classic, Ranger Gold, or others that meet the criteria of the RSPCA
           broiler breed assessment protocol
•        Meet improved environmental standards including:
          ○        At least 50 lux of light, including natural light
          ○        At least two metres of usable perch space, and two pecking substrates per 1,000 birds
          ○        On air quality, the maximum requirements of Annex 2.3 of the EU broiler directive, regardless
                     of stocking density
          ○        No cages or multi-tier systems
          ○        Adopt controlled atmospheric stunning using inert gas or multi-phase systems, or effective
                     electrical stunning without live inversion
          ○        Demonstrate compliance with the above standards via third-party auditing and annual
                     public reporting on progress towards this commitment

Waitrose & Partners | animal welfare | deer for venison

All deer are sourced from specially selected farms and parks in the UK and NZ and reared outdoors throughout the year. In NZ, this is year-round, while in the UK some deer may be housed in straw bedded barns, especially during winter. Our deer are fed a natural forage-based diet of grazed grass or clover enriched swards. 

Transport and deer processing

All our park deer will be shot using non lead rifle ammunition. Trials are underway in 2019 and the policy will be fully implemented by 2020.

All farmed 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 handling deer at the abattoir are trained in high welfare 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.

Waitrose & Partners | animal welfare | duck

All our duck is British. 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 ample space to express natural behaviour. 

They also enjoy enrichment such as straw bales. Air quality and temperature are monitored constantly to ensure that birds are kept comfortable at all times.

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 the plant are less than three hours 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.

Waitrose & Partners | animal welfare | eggs

All our eggs are free range. Whether whole in the ryegrass cartons, or in any of the prepared foods on our shelves, they are all are from hens free to range every day. 

All our shell eggs are British, supplied by farms we know and trust. These are from free range or organic farms where hens have space to roam, shelter under trees, dust bathe and generally display their natural behaviours. Inside their houses, hens have permanent access to food and fresh water and areas for dust bathing and perching and laying eggs. 

We have our own dedicated breed of hen, the British Blacktail. She has been specifically selected as a strong and active bird that is well suited to life outdoors. A slightly bigger hen, she will lay a larger egg than other breeds. We are proud to say none of our British Blacktail hen laying flocks are beak treated or trimmed. This is a procedure that blunts the sharp tip of the beak using infra-red light, when the chick is first hatched. We are the only retailer in the UK to achieve this. 

Our essential range
 comes from a white feathered hen laying pure white eggs. This breed is used across the globe owing to its incredible efficiency; consuming less feed for every egg, meaning the lowest possible environmental impact. We introduced white eggs into our essential range in 2018. While we are rolling this out across all stores and refining the management of a new breed of hen, we continue to use infra-red to treat the beak in the hatchery. In the near future we will cease this contingency practice, meaning 100% of our eggs will be from flocks with intact beaks.

Our Duchy Original organic eggs are laid by organic free range British Blacktail hens raised in organic systems. These eggs are also laid by British Blacktail hens and farmed to the highest standards set by the Soil Association. Under these guidelines, our hens have fresh organic pasture each time a flock is housed and the size of each flock is limited to 2,000 birds which is a lower stocking density than mainstream free range production. Duchy hens, from day old chicks, are fed an organic ingredient diet and the birds can go outdoors at 10 weeks of age. 

Waitrose & Partners use certified free range eggs as an ingredient in its products.

Transport and slaughter of end-of-lay hens

At the end of their productive period on the farm all our hens are transported by an RSPCA Assured haulier, with a maximum transport time of eight hours. Like the rest of our livestock supply chain, a vet inspects the birds on arrival at the abattoir. The plant itself is audited and approved by RSPCA Assured. All our hens are sent to a single abattoir.

Waitrose & Partners | animal welfare | geese

Our entire geese supply chain is British and free range. We use a brood and move system as 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 birds have plenty of space to express natural behaviour. They also enjoy enrichment such as grassy ranges 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 less than three hours and 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.

Waitrose & Partners | animal welfare | game

Waitrose & Partners is the largest retailer of game in the UK. We sell prepared wood pigeon, partridge and pheasant at seasonally appropriate times. We are supplied by a single game dealer who ensures all our game sourced from leading British shoots is reared to the highest standards.

We monitor the shoots we source from and expect strict adherence to our bespoke standards of animal welfare and shoot behaviour. From the 2019-20 season onwards we are phasing out the use of lead shots on the Estates we source from. Instead, we will require lead gun alternatives such as steel or bismuth to be used. By season 2020-21 all our game will be brought to bag without the use of lead ammunition.

Waitrose & Partners | animal welfare | UK lamb

All our UK lambs are reared as naturally as possible. Lambs stay with their mothers from birth until weaning and during this time, they suckle naturally and live in family groups. After weaning, lambs stay together as a group in fields. Their diet is primarily grass and forage, however supplementary feeding of other natural options is permitted if grass is in short supply.

Transport and slaughter of UK lamb

All transportation of our lambs must comply with the regulations specified by the legislation, assurance schemes and other animal welfare protocols we adhere to. The welfare of lambs going to slaughter and when at the abattoir is of the utmost importance to us.

Lambs are yarded for two to three hours prior to loading for transport to ensure stress is minimised. The majority of our lambs only travel around 30 miles to the abattoir, taken by the farmers who reared them. Lambs transported from further away, as with other livestock supply chains, are carried by Red Tractor approved hauliers.

All abattoirs used for our lamb are regularly and independently audited to Food Standards Agency (FSA) abattoir standards to ensure high welfare standards at all times. All staff handling of lambs 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. All our abattoirs focus on creating a stress free environment. 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.

Waitrose & Partners | animal welfare | New Zealand lamb

Outside of the British season, we source lamb from selected farmers in New Zealand. These farms also base their farm standards on the Five Freedoms and a farm assurance protocol which mirrors the Red Tractor beef and lamb scheme. 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 natural pastures. 

Transport and slaughter of NZ lamb

All transport operators must be registered and comply with the New Zealand Livestock Transport Assurance programme. This programme is independently audited by a government owned agency. This includes random truck and driver audits at the point of delivery as well as depot audits and record inspections. Drivers are trained and accredited before they can operate a livestock transport vehicle. The programme specifies stocking density, journey time and regular checks of livestock by the driver.

Both abattoirs used for our lamb are regularly and independently audited to Red Tractor and Humane Slaughter Association abattoir standards to ensure the high welfare 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.

Waitrose & Partners | animal welfare | milk

All Waitrose & Partners liquid milk and cream is from British cows. 

We pledge that all our cows producing milk spend a minimum of 120 days a year grazing in fields but in practice, our dairy cows graze outdoors for far  longer. 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 day minimum grazing pledge across all of our dairy farms supplying us with milk. We do not permit tethering or tail docking of cows within this supply chain. 

Our Waitrose Conventional Milk Scheme incorporates exacting standards to ensure that our dairy cows, at whatever stage of their lives, are treated humanely and with high levels of care and expertise in stock handling. They graze for a minimum of 120 days in the 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.

Our Duchy 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 measurable 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 vary according to their physiological needs and stage of lactation. Farmers focus on breed-specific husbandry techniques to ensure stress-free cows. Farms must adhere to organic, Red Tractor and bespoke Waitrose & Partners standards which provides independent accreditation for animal welfare.

All surplus dairy bulls born into our supply pool are integrated into either our high welfare beef or veal supply chains, which ensures they remain in the UK.

Dairy ingredients

Where milk is pooled and supply chains are extremely complex, we acknowledge the challenge of engaging directly with local suppliers to address issues. We provide active support wherever possible and if welfare issues are brought to our attention such as with Parmesan and Grana Padano, we encourage those suppliers to engage directly with Compassion in World Farming.

Transport and slaughter of spent dairy cows

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 welfare standards.

The maximum transport time limit for our dairy cows is four hours.

Waitrose & Partners | animal welfare | goat's milk

All our goat herds are British. Like all Waitrose farmers, great animal welfare is a 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. Our goats are not subject to close confinement or tethering. 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 billy goats (male) born into our milk herds are reared to provide meat.

Transport and slaughter of spent dairy goats


Transport of spent dairy goats is no more than four hours. Cull stock are sent to local abattoirs which are less than 40 miles away.

Waitrose & Partners | animal welfare | UK pigs

All fresh pork we sell is British. This includes Waitrose & Partners sausages, bacon, British ham and gammon which comes from pigs that are either outdoor bred or free range. Pigs that supply our essential range pork are born outdoors and we never use farrowing crates or sow stalls.

Weaned pigs – approximately four weeks old – are finished indoors in straw bedded, light and airy buildings. None of our supplier 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 water supply issues and care of animals during extreme weather.

We are committed to eradicating the need for any veterinary mutilation of our pigs. 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, teeth clipping is only carried out in exceptional circumstances under specialist veterinary advice by trained stockpersons to protect the sow’s udder, when necessary. Castration is not permitted as well as sow stalls and farrowing crates also prohibited.

Free range pigs

As with our essential Waitrose pork, all sows are kept outdoors their entire lives and in straw filled arcs and tents on free draining sandy soils. At farrowing, sows are given their own specific hut for raising litter until weaning at four weeks old. 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. At a minimum, our stocking density for free range pigs is 36m2/pig. Tail docking is not allowed under the free-range system as tail biting is not an issue.

Duchy 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 UK 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 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. Slaughter is undertaken by fully certified staff and maintained to standards laid down by British Quality Assured Pork. Our pork processor Dalehead Foods recognises, and operates within the guidance set out by the Humane Slaughter Association and Freedom Food for animals at the point of slaughter.

Waitrose & Partners | animal welfare | Continental / European pigs

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 paté.

Our continental pig meat supplier Winterbotham Darby is a leader in its field. Their pig scheme, which covers 100% of the pigs they supply to Waitrose & Partners, already exceeds European legislation on animal welfare standards.

To drive progress further, Winterbotham Darby has also developed the first pan-European welfare standard, the European Farm Partnership (EFP) pig module, which is accredited by UKAS (United Kingdom Accreditation Service).

The EFP pig module is the only accredited standard of its kind for Europe and covers the entire supply chain from breeding to rearing, finishing, transport and slaughter. Winterbotham Darby’s work to develop this standard, as well as its achievements in supply chain traceability and consumer education, was honoured in 2018 with a Special Recognition Award from Compassion in World Farming. The standard is for higher welfare systems and takes into account health and welfare factors such as free farrowing, increased space and a stimulating environment. The standard also covers antibiotic usage and medicine, feed, veterinary procedures, biosecurity and pest control. The Pig module (UKAS ISO/IEC 17065:2012), will be audited by certification body KIWA Agri Food, on behalf of Winterbotham Darby.

The EFP is a tiered system which Winterbotham Darby use to encourage farmers to continually improve their standards. All their producer farms across Italy, Spain, France, Germany and Holland will be certified to at least bronze by 2020, and silver or gold by 2025.

waitrose_animal_welfarecommitments_34

In recognition of their leadership in this area two of Winterbotham Darby’s producer partners have received awards from Compassion in World Farming. Italian producer Fumagalli has received a Good Pig Award, and Spanish producer Marcos a Good Sow Commendation.

Winterbotham Darby EFP certification in 2018: 

Waitrose & Parters pork supplier | Winterbotham Darby EFP certification in 2018

Transport and slaughter of EU pigs

Transport of our EU pigs is limited to a maximum of eight hours. Each country has an approval process equivalent to Red Tractor with an approved list of hauliers.

Waitrose & Partners | animal welfare | farmed fish and other aquaculture

Our essential Waitrose & Partners farmed salmon supply partnerships are small to medium-sized farming sites in Scotland, each with an experienced team of husbandry experts. Our organic salmon is supplied by Scottish and Irish farms. 

All farmed fish must be fully traceable to known and audited Waitrose & Partners 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, sea bass, sea bream and halibut are stunned prior to slaughter.

All of our farmed fish is independently certified to a recognised third-party standard. 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 International Labour Organisation (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.

Farmed fish feed policy

Marine based feed raw materials must only be sourced from responsibly managed fisheries. We support 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 & Partners salmon, trout and halibut are from IFFO RS certified stocks and all farmed fish diets are required to be produced using IFFO RS, MSC or FOS certified marine ingredients. 

The marine feed ingredients used in the fish feed for Waitrose & Partners 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 non-GMO and inclusion rates must not compromise fish welfare or the eating quality and nutritional value of the final product. It is our policy to ensure that salmon and trout are fed on a diet that ensures the following levels of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA)/docosahexaenoic acid (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 and animal derived lipids and blood meal are not permitted.

Responsible Harvest Assessment

The Waitrose & Partners ‘Responsible Harvest Assessment’ looks at key control measures to ensure harvesting of our salmon and trout is carried out in such a way as to minimise stress, with animal welfare as a primary principle. Its core values are to promote continuous improvement, create aspiration by rewarding innovation, good practice and ensure compliance to the Waitrose & Partners Aquaculture Farming Protocol. The assessment itself, currently its second year of implementation, covers a range of criteria, including detailed on-site system checks, fish welfare, workers’ welfare, hygiene and brand protection.

All our farmed finfish are pre-slaughter stunned. 

Farmed stocking densities

Waitrose & Partners | animal welfare | farmed fish and other aquaculture | 2018 farmed stocking densities

Farmed fish transport times from harvest to slaughter

Waitrose & Partners | animal welfare | farmed fish and other aquaculture | 2018 farmed fish transport times from harvest to slaughter

Farmed fish third-party certification

Waitrose & Partners | animal welfare | farmed fish and other aquaculture | farmed fish third-party certification 2018
Waitrose & Partners | animal welfare | turkey

All Waitrose turkeys are farmed in England, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland and are kept to our high standards of animal welfare. Unlike others, even our entry level essential Waitrose & Partners turkeys are farmed to higher welfare standards, with natural daylight, fresh air and more room to move around than the industry standard.

Waitrose free-range turkeys are raised on selected small farms in the UK and Ireland. They are provided with both indoor and outdoor range areas during their growing period. Access to grass paddocks are 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 with straw bales, trees, scrub and mixed vegetation provided for range enrichment.

Our Duchy Originals organic turkeys are raised in England and Ireland. A slow growing, bronze feathered breed, they are broadly similar to free range but with additional requirements to meet the organic regulations and the Waitrose & Partners bespoke standards. Stocking densities are very low, like our free-range birds, with plenty of environmental enrichment available. Waitrose organic turkeys are not beak trimmed.

Transport and slaughter of turkeys

All our turkeys are transported to slaughter under National Welfare of Animals Transport regulations which covers 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.

Waitrose & Partners | animal welfare | higher welfare veal (rose veal)

We pioneered the sale of UK-produced high welfare veal. We have one dedicated veal supplier we have worked with for more than 30 years. Veal calves are reared in big social groups in large, airy barns bedded with deep straw with lots of room to move around, including some access to outside yards. 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 & Parters dairy supply chain. This ensures 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 & Partners.

Our abattoir has been purpose built with the help of animal welfare experts and influence from American animal science Professor 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 young cattle. Like the rest of our livestock supply chain, a vet inspects the animals on arrival at the processing plant.


Welfare outcomes and selected Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for Waitrose & Partners supply chains

Waitrose & Partners 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 research and development. These research projects are done with a many 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 improvement for the animals in our own-brand supply chains.

Average travel time for livestock sourced by Waitrose & Partners

The below charts are measured in hours from start of loading until the last animal has entered lairage. For all species, including those where average travel times are not yet available, we report against maximum permitted transport times. More details are available in our KPI download.

Waitrose & Partners | animal welfare | average travel time for livestock 2016-2018

As per our policy, all our livestock and farmed finfish in our own-brand supply chains are transported within specified maximum transport times, and we report on any exceptions to this. Unfortunately, this information is not always available for branded goods that we sell. We sell around 55% own-brand products by volume, and so we can confidently declare that a minimum of 55% of animals in the total global own-brand and branded supply chain are transported within the limits specified by our policy. The reality is likely to be considerably higher, as many of our key branded suppliers have transport policies of their own. We will continue to work with branded suppliers to increase awareness of this important issue and ensure we have sight of their performance. 

Percentage of livestock reared to Red Tractor Assurance Standards or equivalent

In all cases there are additional higher welfare bolt-on requirements that are independently verified at the time of the Red Tractor (or equivalent) inspection. Details of species-specific policies and standards are provided above including our higher welfare continental standards for pigs.

Waitrose & Partners | animal welfare | % of livestock reared to Red Tractor Assurance Standards or equivalent

Percentage of livestock pre-stunned before slaughter:

Waitrose & Partners | animal welfare | % of Waitrose & Partners livestock pre-stunned before slaughter

As per our policy, all our livestock and farmed finfish in our own-brand supply chains are pre-stunned before slaughter. Unfortunately, this information is not always available for branded goods that we sell. We sell around 55% own-brand products by volume. We can confidently declare that a minimum of 55% of animals in our total global own-brand and branded supply chain are stunned pre-slaughter. The reality is likely to be considerably higher, as many of our key branded suppliers have pre-stun policies of their own. We will continue to work with branded suppliers to increase awareness of this important issue and ensure we have sight of their performance.

Percentage of livestock that are not reared in close confinement: 

Waitrose & Partners | animal welfare | % of livestock that are not reared in close confinement

In line with our supplier Winterbotham Darby's commitment to move all their continental farms through their tiered bronze, silver and gold EFP farming standard, and in support of Waitrose's Cage Free award from Compassion in World Farming, all our continental pigs will be free from confinement by 2025. In 2018, 30% of continental pigs were free from sow stalls and 20% were free from farrowing crates. All our UK pigs are confinement free.

Livestock free from routine mutilations:

•        Pigs 58% free from tail docking
         •        UK Organic/free range pigs – 100% free from tail docking
         •        UK Pigs (outdoor bred, indoor reared) – 51% free from tail docking
         •        Continental Pigs – 41% free from tail docking
•        Pigs 79% free from castration
         •        UK Pigs – 100% free from castration
         •        Continental Pigs – 23% free from castration. Our supplier is researching Improvac in Italy and
                  Spain but using pain relief for this procedure (Tri Solfren pain relief research also continues). In
                   Spain, white pig boars are not castrated. Iberico pigs (black pigs) are currently castrated but
                 Improvac trials are underway.
•        Pigs 89% free from teeth clipping
         •        UK Pigs – 100% free from teeth clipping
         •        Continental Pigs – 60% free from teeth clipping
•        Laying hens – 90.5% free from beak trimming (hot blade method is prohibited). We have achieved
                  our goal of 100% of our British Blacktail laying flocks being non trimmed. We are the only
                  retailer in the UK who has achieved this.
•        Broiler chickens – 100% free from beak trimming and toe clipping
•        Ducks and geese – 100% free from mutilations
•        Turkeys 1% free from beak trimming
         •        Conventional Turkeys – 0% free from beak trimming (hot knife method is prohibited)
         •        Organic Turkeys – 100% free from beak trimming
•        Fish – 100% free from fin clipping
•        Fish – 100% free from all mutilations
•        Farmed warm water prawn broodstock – Waitrose does not support the practice of eyestalk
                  ablation in shrimp (prawn) broodstock reproduction and expects hatcheries supplying
                  Waitrose farmed prawns to ensure this practice is phased out by 2020
•        UK Dairy calves – 5% of retained stock are free from disbudding
•        UK Dairy calves – 95% polled
•        UK Dairy cows – 100% free from tethering and tail docking
•        Higher Welfare veal calves – 100% free from disbudding
•        Beef Cattle – 80% free from dehorning
•        Beef Cattle – 100% free from hot iron branding
•        Beef Cattle (males) – 0% free from castration
•        Goats – 0% free from disbudding
•        Lamb 1% free from tail docking
         •        UK lamb – 2% free from tail docking
         •        NZ lamb – 0% free from tail docking
•        Lamb 38% free from castration
         •        UK lamb – 30% free from castration
         •        NZ lamb – 50% free from castration


Livestock with access to an enriched environment: 

Waitrose & Partners | animal welfare | Livestock transportation - accidents/deaths in transit during 2018

Mortality rates (%)

Waitrose & Partners | animal welfare | mortality rates 2011 - 2018