Animal Welfare

A dedicated Agriculture & Welfare Supply Team working closely with customers and suppliers to ensure all higher welfare standards are adhered to. The team report directly into the Board who are fully supportive in ensuring that our policies are effectively implemented. We are dedicated at all levels to the welfare of all species processed through our factories.

Animal welfare is regarded as a very important part of our business and, as such, we have a dedicated Agriculture & Welfare Supply Team. This team works closely with the industry and our customers to ensure that high welfare standards are implemented and maintained globally, across all species. 

Our aim is to continually improve farm animal welfare performance. In addition, our Agriculture & Welfare Supply Team, reporting directly into a Board Director, work with our suppliers to ensure that the required standards are maintained. 

In the event of a non-conformance raised during an audit, we investigate the root cause and take appropriate action. Depending on the nature of our findings, we will work with our supplier to resolve the issue within an agreed time frame. Ultimately, we will cease trading with the supplier if we are not completely satisfied with the outcome. 

When we purchase meat from outside of the UK, we make every endeavour to purchase to an equivalent British welfare standard. Following recent changes to European legislation, we ensure that all our purchased EU pork is, as a minimum, compliant to the revised legislation and therefore comes from sows that are not confined throughout the whole of their gestation period. Cranswick closely work with all our global suppliers and are committed to the avoidance of confinement through all species. Farm animal welfare is incorporated into contractual obligations for Cranswick’s entire global meat supply base across all species. 

We work closely with our supply base in ensuring they are kept up to date with the latest industry and retailer codes of practice.

We have expanded the business and now have a number of our own pig herds. These are located close to our processing sites in Yorkshire & Norfolk, key eastern production hubs, and this reflects our commitment to avoiding long inter-site transportation times. Around 70% of our contracted pigs are sourced within Yorkshire, Lincolnshire and Norfolk, which are recognised as being some of the best pig breeding areas in the UK. 

Livestock journey times from the farms to our production facilities are typically:

  • Yorkshire site – 35% within 1 hour, 66% within 2 hours and 73% within 3 hours
  • Norfolk site – 46% within 1 hour, 90% within 2 hours and 95% within 3 hours 

All Cranswick sites, along with our UK beef, lamb and poultry suppliers, comply with UK Farm Assurance Scheme standards. Typical journey times are between 3 – 4 hours.

Furthermore, our supply base covering all species purchased outside of the UK also has typical journey times of between 3 – 4 hours. Our objective is that all livestock processed by all our suppliers must not be transported for more than 8 hours. This is being achieved by all our suppliers across all species.

ANIMAL WELFARE Q&A

DOES THE COMPANY HAVE A CLEAR POSITION ON THE AVOIDANCE OF PRODUCTS FROM FARM ANIMALS SUBJECT TO GENETIC ENGINEERING OR CLONING?

It is a requirement of our producers and technical conditions of supply that:

  • No animals across the Cranswick supply base are subject to any genetic modification. A link to the company Genetically Modified Organism policy can be found here.
  • Our suppliers do not use artificial or hormonal growth promoting substances when rearing animals.
  • We are also monitoring the use of antibiotics in our own herds with a view to reducing the amount administered without compromising animal welfare. 

We are working with the industry to ensure that best practice is used on all species from all our suppliers and that they are only prescribed when absolutely necessary. 

Our objective is the reduction and avoidance of antibiotics for prophylactic use across all our supply base. 

We have monitored the trend and, since 2009, figures show that there has been almost a 50% reduction in antibiotic usage by our main European suppliers, which accounts for over 74% of our international product purchased. 

DOES THE COMPANY HAVE A CLEAR POSITION ON THE AVOIDANCE OF ROUTINE TAIL DOCKING AND TEETH CLIPPING?

Cranswick works with its UK and global producers and meat suppliers to avoid routine tail docking and teeth clipping of pigs. We also work with our poultry suppliers to avoid routine beak trimming.

Castration is not permitted on UK farm assured pigs. Whilst castration is permitted on the continent, this would be performed by a trained member of staff under the guidance of a veterinarian. We fully support our European suppliers who are working towards non-castration. We are actively encouraging all our suppliers to avoid this procedure. Currently, we estimate that over 70% of European pork purchased originates from farms that do not carry out castration. Good progress is being made and we foresee that more suppliers will move towards non castration.

DOES THE COMPANY HAVE A CLEAR POSITION ON THE AVOIDANCE OF MEAT FROM ANIMALS THAT HAVE NOT BEEN SUBJECT TO PRE-SLAUGHTER STUNNING?

In Cranswick’s condition of supply it is a requirement that all global suppliers ensure all species of animals are adequately pre-stunned prior to process. 

We require all UK pork to be processed in accordance with the BMPA Quality Assured Pork and Welfare modules, which state that all animals must be stunned prior to slaughter. Our objective is 100% compliance and we can confirm that 100% of all species processed by our suppliers and subsequently supplied into Cranswick – from both the UK and internationally - are pre-stunned.  

We insist on high standards of animal welfare throughout the supply chain. Welfare requirements are built into our contracts and technical conditions of our entire species supply base. All our UK producers are members of independently audited and certified farm assurance schemes such as BMPA Quality Assured Pork. In addition, our own Agricultural & Welfare Supply Team, who report directly into a board director, visit our UK and Global supply base to ensure that the required welfare standards are being maintained.

In addition, we have our own team of qualified Animal Welfare Officers (AWO) who are responsible for inspecting the pigs as they arrive at site, whilst they are in the lairage, and also for ensuring that all animals are handled in the most humane way possible.

HAS THE COMPANY SET OBJECTIVES AND TARGETS FOR THE MANAGEMENT OF FARM ANIMAL WELFARE?

We work in partnership with our customers and have a set of farm animal welfare objectives. Cranswick have also agreed set objectives and targets for the management of farm animal welfare with our major retailers, some of these are published. We are working with our customers in sourcing from suppliers who operate to independent higher welfare standards.

Real Welfare outcomes are recorded both on farm and at delivery to the processing unit; these can then be fed back to the supplier to ensure continual improvement with regard to welfare on farm. Welfare outcomes are also monitored at our EU suppliers through audits by our agriculture team of both their farm and processing sites. Animal welfare performance is reported to key personnel within the business. In 2014, we conducted audits on over 100 farms and processors in the UK and internationally. 

HOW DO WE ENSURE THAT OUR FARM ANIMAL WELFARE POLICY IS EFFECTIVELY IMPLEMENTED?

Our own farms work to documented working procedures to ensure best practice at all times.

All our animal welfare officers are being independently trained and certified by an external company.

Farm Animal Welfare Officers have attended and completed a formally recognised welfare qualification.

IS THE COMPANY CURRENTLY INVESTING IN PROJECTS DEDICATED TO ADVANCING FARM ANIMAL WELFARE PRACTICES WITHIN THE INDUSTRY?

We work closely with both our customers and suppliers and run producer groups that look at all aspects of animal welfare throughout the pig production chain. We are involved in a number of projects looking at development of the animals’ environment to promote improved welfare conditions throughout all stages of pig production, for example non-confinement at farrowing. In addition, we are supporting an initiative to promote the training of apprentices in the farming industry. Cranswick are developing a concept farm that will be involved in industry trials and research to enhance farm animal welfare.

As an active member of the British Pig Executive (BPEX) and the British Meat Processors Association (BMPA), we are able to contribute to the debate and influence the industry's future approach to animal welfare. We also have representation on the Technical Advisory Committee at the BMPA who are responsible for maintaining, developing and enforcing compliance with the various BMPA Quality Assured Pork schemes for pork meat and pork based meat products.

HAS THE COMPANY RECEIVED ANY NOTABLE AWARDS OR ACCREDITATIONS FOR ITS FARM ANIMAL WELFARE PERFORMANCE IN THE LAST TWO YEARS?

We have been involved in helping customers achieve welfare awards. In 2012, Cranswick worked closely with a producer and retailer and consequently won a Compassion in World Farming Good Pig award. In the same year, Cranswick also worked with a food service company that also achieved the Good Pig award.

DOES THE COMPANY PROMOTE HIGHER FARM ANIMAL WELFARE TO CONSUMERS THROUGH EDUCATION AND/OR AWARENESS-RAISING ACTIVITIES?

We have a number of producers who are involved in educating school children in the importance of animal welfare and the pig industry through farm visits. Cranswick also attends agricultural shows to engage producers in promoting higher farm welfare systems to the general public. Our graduate scheme also puts great emphasis on high welfare standards and it is incorporated into the training programme.