Tesco has responded to an open letter signed by thousands of our supporters, calling for improvements in factory farming after our investigation revealed pigs with cut tails and irresponsible antibiotic use on UK farms.
Tesco says pigs' tails are only cut as a "last resort". However, our investigation into UK farms supplying Tesco shows a different story. We found whole herds with tails cut and inadequate enrichment on 3 out of 4 farms visited, indicating that routine tail docking is still in place rather than being used as a last resort as legally required.
Earlier this year, nearly 6,000 of our supporters signed our open letter calling on Tesco to end the pain and suffering for pigs through intensive factory farming. We believe Tesco should do more to end painful pig mutilations.
As a first step, Tesco should match Morrisons, Waitrose and M&S and report on the proportion of pigs with cut tails. Keep an eye out for our report on how UK supermarkets are performing on critical pig welfare issues and what they need to do to improve the lives of pigs, with a chance to join us and have your say.
Tesco’s response to pig welfare issues in the UK is as follows:
Thank you very much for giving us the opportunity to respond to your questions and share the work we’ve been doing to improve the welfare of pigs in our supply chain.
Firstly, we’d like to assure you the welfare of animals is extremely important to us, and our dedicated team of technical experts are committed to ensuring all the pork we sell adheres to our high animal welfare standards. We work collaboratively with our farmers and suppliers to drive continuous improvement across the key areas of animal health and welfare, environmental impact and economic sustainability.
All our pork is reared to recognised farm assurance standards such as Red Tractor, RSPCA Assured and our own Tesco Welfare Approved standard, which meet and exceed UK Government-approved industry welfare standards.
Our farms are independently audited on a regular basis, and our pork suppliers must adhere to high standards of welfare, health, hygiene, as well as the responsible use of antibiotic treatments. Since we started reporting antibiotic use in our pork supply chain in 2017, antibiotic use has fallen by 56%, and we’re committed to supporting suppliers in reducing antibiotic usage, without compromising animal welfare, and in particular High Priority Critically Important Antibiotics (HPCIA’s).
The use of tail docking in our supply chain is only ever carried out as a last resort and must be regularly risk assessed, reviewed and reported in veterinary visit reports.
If you would like to find out more, our animal welfare policy is set out in detail here.