ITALY - Compassion in World Farming celebrated the commitment of leading food businesses to improve animal welfare standards at their Good Farm Animal Welfare Awards held at the Milan Expo on 9 June, hosted by chef, writer and broadcaster, Allegra McEvedy MBE.
The ceremony was kindly supported by the European Commission with Andrea Gavinelli (Head of Animal Welfare Unit, EC) making a speech praising the work of Compassion and the award winners.
In total, 41 awards were presented across a range of categories: the Retailer Awards, the Good Egg Award, the Good Chicken Award, the Good Dairy Award, the Good Pig Award and new for 2015 the Good Rabbit Award with almost 15 million farm animals set to benefit each year from the winners’ higher welfare policies. Of the 41, three awards were presented to household names McDonald’s and the Jamie Oliver Group, together with UK based beef processor Blade Farming for their commitment to improving the lives of dairy cows, beef cows and calves.
Dr Tracey Jones, Director of Food Business at Compassion in World Farming said: “It’s great to see such big names as McDonald’s and the Jamie Oliver Group leading the way in improving the lives of dairy cows, beef cows and calves. Our three award winners alone will positively impact on the lives of over 12,000 cattle. It is a real achievement by our Food Business Managers working with and supporting these companies in what can be a slow, time consuming process to make changes of this scale, sometimes across global businesses.”
Restaurant business the Jamie Oliver Group has operations globally, including Brazil, Canada and Australia and includes Jamie’s Italian, Barbecoa – the barbecue chain, and Recipease – the cooking school, to name a few. Jamie Oliver himself continues to be a positive force for change on a global level as a chef, campaigner and ambassador. Last year Jamie gave his endorsement to the Milan Protocol which helps raise awareness about the urgency of taking action to tackle the challenges involved in making the global food system truly sustainable. He has also recently set up a global campaign called ‘Food Revolution Day’ to put compulsory practical food education on the school curriculum. The Jamie Oliver Group has previously been recognised with a Good Egg, Good Chicken and Good Pig Award, and now receive a Good Dairy Award for committing to source all the milk for its UK restaurants from systems that meet the Good Dairy Award criteria. This includes pasture access and active health plans for dairy cows, and group housing, bedding and a good diet for calves.
McDonald’s is the world’s largest chain of quick service restaurants. The company is committed to improving animal welfare in all regions and already received a Good Egg Award for its policy to source cage-free eggs across its European operations. This year, McDonald’s France receive a Good Dairy Commendation for their policy to source milk from farms where cows have access to pasture and where key welfare indicators are monitored, for all the dairy desserts (milkshakes, ice creams, yoghurts) sold in their French restaurants.
The final award winner was Blade Farming, part of the ABP Food Group, one of Europe's leading food processors that process approximately 1 million cattle a year. Blade Farming is unique in the UK and they have pioneered the only truly integrated beef supply chain. With numbers in excess of 20,000 head of cattle in operation, they are one of the largest beef farming operations in the UK, with the demand for beef produced through the Blade operation increasing year on year. Blade Farming received a Good Calf Commendation for ensuring that their calf rearing operations are higher welfare.
Tracey again: “Every year I am so impressed by the commitment and drive of our Award winners to make genuine improvements to the lives of millions of farm animals. However, it also serves to remind me that there is still a huge amount of work to be done before a true market shift towards higher welfare food takes place. I’m confident the higher welfare message is spreading globally as more and more businesses realise that there is not just an ethical imperative to address farm animal welfare but a commercial one too.”
TheCattleSite News Desk