Who’s telling porkies: Iceland and Asda failing on pig welfare
We ranked the top 10 UK supermarkets on pig welfare. The results are in.
"Supermarkets have an undeniable responsibility to improve and uphold welfare standards for the animals in their supply chain and their customers have the right to demand that they demonstrate that they are carrying out their policies by regularly publishing data.”
Customers of UK supermarkets including Asda and Iceland are unwittingly buying meat from pigs that have had their tails, and teeth painfully cut to prevent them from causing injury and biting each other in frustration when crammed together on factory farms, according to our new report.
Piglet mutilation is an industry wide problem, but while some are actively putting measures in place to reduce suffering, others remain part of the problem.
How we ranked supermarkets
The ‘Who’s Telling Porkies’ report examines supermarket’s pig welfare and import policies, and how much information they share with their customers.
Ranked in last place at number ten was Iceland, followed by Asda in ninth place. Marginally higher in the ranking, but still performing poorly, was Aldi in eighth place and Lidl in seventh. The highest performing supermarket was Waitrose in first place, followed by Marks & Spencer in second and Morrisons in third.
Who is making changes
We gave supermarkets the opportunity to update their public reports and policies before the report was published and some have already made improvements. The changes made are reflected in the ranking.
Morrisons has extended its policies to include all pork products instead of just fresh pork
Tesco has published data on enrichment (e.g. straw to forage in) and has updated its import policy in line with UK standards
Sainsburys has published data on enrichment and castration for its UK suppliers
Aldi and Lidl have published data on castration for their UK suppliers
Asda has introduced reporting on tail docking within its supply chain
* Since first publishing our ranking table, Tesco has highlighted to us an element of their import policy which brings imports in-line with UK standards and we are very pleased to see that this has lifted them to 4th in the ranking, as seen above.
The ranking was based on World Animal Protection’s global welfare framework for the Raise Pigs Right campaign, focusing on our call to end piglet mutilations. The three mutilations, tail cutting, teeth cutting and castration are very painful, cause a huge amount of unnecessary suffering and should not be routinely carried out. Routine tail cutting is banned in the UK, but a loophole means this cruel practice continues with over 70% of pigs having their tails cut each year. Supermarkets have the power to change this through their policies and supporting the industry to improve welfare.
Lindsay Duncan, World Animal Protection campaigns manager said, "Pigs are intelligent and social animals, and frequently suffer from cruel farming practices such as piglet mutilations. Not only is it against the law in the UK, but it's just sheer cruelty to mutilate piglets in this way when we know higher welfare practices would make it unnecessary.
“While it is encouraging that some supermarkets have taken positive action as a result of the ranking, in the case of the lowest seven supermarkets, this does not go far enough. Supermarkets have an undeniable responsibility to improve and uphold welfare standards for the animals in their supply chain and their customers have the right to demand that they demonstrate that they are carrying out their policies by regularly publishing data.”
Here’s what Morrisons said:
Sophie Throup, Head of Agriculture, Fisheries and Sustainable Sourcing, Morrisons said, "Animal welfare remains one of the most important areas our customers think about - and trust us to get right for them. We continue to work hard with our pig farmers and the wider industry to ensure all animals within our supply chain area treated with care and respect. By working together, we hope to keep on improving and raising standards across the supply chain."
World Animal Protection is calling on UK supermarkets to ensure their animal welfare policies not only cover domestic pork but also imported products to help protect the UK from lower animal welfare standards overseas.
Please join us in taking action to email your supermarket today demanding a they have a full pig welfare policy, import policy and regularly publish data for their full supply chain.