Animal Welfare

 

Cranswick Plc recognise that the welfare of farm animals is a fundamental part of the business. We have a strong commitment embedded and maintain high standards of farm animal welfare across our own operations and throughout our UK and global supply chains. We are committed to the health and well-being of the animals we rear, breed and source from our suppliers. To view our Animal Welfare policy click here.

 

Governing and Managing Animal Welfare

Accountability

Animal welfare is regarded as a very important part of our business and as such we have a dedicated Agriculture & Welfare Supply Team, who report directly into a Board Director. The board fully support the team in ensuring that our policies are effectively implemented. We are dedicated at all levels to the welfare of all species processed through our factories.

Agriculture & Welfare Supply Team

The Agriculture & Welfare Supply Team works closely with the industry and our customers to ensure that high welfare standards are implemented and maintained globally, across all species, both on farm and within the abattoirs. In 2017 we further strengthened our UK Agriculture team to work collaboratively with our suppliers and customers on improving best practice and innovation. Following the success of this, in 2018 we created a dedicated Agriculture team for our Continental Foods division. The additional resources will enable us to be industry leaders, continue the good work we are doing and ensure our welfare objectives are met.

Cranswick’s own farm enterprises (Wold, Wayland, White Rose and Crown) have knowledgeable teams with years of experience between them from directors through to fieldsmen and administration staff. In addition, we are supporting an initiative to promote the training of apprentices in the farming industry.

Working together with the industry and keeping up to date

Representatives from Cranswick attend meetings, presentations and conferences across the UK and Europe, enabling us to keep up-to-date with the latest academic research, innovative ideas and threats to the industry (e.g. AI, ASF, PEDV). This enables us to manage these threats successfully through our Risk Committee.

As an active member of the Agriculture & Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) 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. Our Technical Director is a member of the BMPA Welfare Committee and 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. In addition, we also have a representative on the Pig Health & Welfare Committee whose aim is to promote a coordinated and integrated approach to improving pig health and welfare. As well as a representative on the Red Tractor Technical Advisory Committee (Pork) which is made up of experts within the sector and are responsible for the on-going maintenance and development of Red Tractor Assurance Standards. Representatives from our own Poultry Division are active members of the British Poultry Council (BPC) and have representation on the board as well as the sub committees.

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

 

Cranswick Code of Practice - Pork

We expect that all farms within our supply base are working towards a standardised code of practice that not only covers welfare but also sustainability and best practice with regards to antibiotic usage. This code of practice has been developed by our Agriculture Welfare team and benchmarked against recognised independent schemes.

 

The Scope of Cranswick’s Supply Chain

Whilst Cranswick predominantly process pigs and poultry, we also source a variety of proteins. We insist on the highest 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, Red Tractor and Lion Code of Practice. When we purchase meat from outside of the UK, we make every endeavor to purchase to an equivalent British welfare standard. In addition, our own Agriculture & Welfare Supply Team, who report directly into a board director, visit our UK and Global supply base to ensure that required welfare standards are being maintained.

Pigs/Pork

Our Farms

We have expanded the business and now have several 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.

Independent UK Farms – Organic, RSPCA & Red Tractor Assured

Many of the pigs supplied to Cranswick are reared to higher welfare standards associated with outdoor bred or outdoor reared production methods. Approximately 42% of those processed by our Preston site, and 70% by our site in Norfolk come from outdoor systems managed to the exacting requirements of the RSPCA Assured welfare standard, the balance of those processed are reared indoors in full compliance with the Red Tractor/BMPA Quality Assured Pork (BQAP) welfare standards.

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.

The pig procurement team have years of experience between them and have built good working relationships with suppliers, be it the farmer/producer direct or marketing groups that pigs are sold through.

EU – Fresh pork and other.

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.

Poultry

Chicken (Meat)

Own Fully Integrated Farms

Cranswick operates their own, fully integrated, poultry business - from breeding, rearing and processing fresh chicken for supply into a broad customer base. This includes an efficient feed milling operation which supplies our own poultry business as well as supplying feed to other pig and poultry producers in East Anglia. All contract farmers are required to comply with our own dedicated standards and are subjected to the same auditing protocols.

UK & EU Broiler

Cranswick also sources poultry meat from suppliers both in the UK and in Europe. 80% of the poultry meat sourced comes from the UK, which is assured to Red Tractor standards as a minimum. Furthermore, 40% of this is being sourced from RSPCA assured farms and farms where the customer requires the birds to be stocked at 30kg/m² and a slower growing breed of bird is also used. The rest is sourced from the EU where all suppliers and farms must meet EU law as a minimum, 100% of poultry sourced from the EU comes from farms assured to national recognised schemes such as QS and IKB.

End of Lay Hens

Cranswick also sources meat from end of lay hens. This comes from the UK and EU. The UK hen meat comes from farms accredited to the Lion Code of Practice as a minimum, this is an independently recognised ISO 17065 farm assurance scheme in addition to this, around 50% of these birds are from free range or organic farms. The EU hen meat all complies with EU legislation.

Turkey

All turkey sourced from the UK is assured to Red Tractor standards as a minimum. Turkey sourced from the EU complies with an approved farm assurance scheme along with our customers own welfare standards. This ensures that the Turkey is produced on farms that are managed by trained and competent stockmen.

Eggs

All liquid egg purchased is from Free Range Farms. This means the hens are free from confinement and can go outdoors. The hens must be provided with nest boxes and adequate perches. Litter must be provided allowing for scratching and dust bathing. They are accredited to Lion Code of Practice which is recognised as an ISO 17065 Farm Assurance scheme.    

Duck

Cranswick source duck from the UK, which is assured to Red Tractor standards as a minimum. This ensures the birds are looked after by trained, competent persons who always ensure the animals health and welfare. Ducks reared indoors must have access to bathing water to be able to dip their heads under, to preen and to allow the birds to toss water onto their feathers for conditioning. This form of bathing ensures good bird health and welfare. The Red Tractor standards ensure that the ducks have sufficient space to move around freely to feed and to exhibit normal behaviour.

Cattle

Beef

Our beef is sourced is from the UK, Ireland, Germany, Poland and Brazil. The cattle comply to Red Tractor standards for the British beef, Board Bia for the Irish beef and EU legislation for the beef from Germany and Poland. The Brazilian sourced beef complies to the supplier’s own schemes as well as meeting our customer’s own welfare standards.

Our Continental Foods division source corned beef from the UK, Europe and Brazil. The UK beef complies to Red Tractor standards, the European beef complies to EU law and the Brazilian beef complies to the supplier’s own farm schemes as well as meeting our customer’s own welfare standards.

Dairy

All milk, cream, yoghurt and Crème Fraiche is sourced is from suppliers using UK Red Tractor assured farms. Over 80% of the butter suppliers use Red Tractor assured farms or Bord Bia’s Sustainable Dairy Assurance scheme for the milk, the remaining 20% use milk from farms which comply to EU and New Zealand legislation. Over 40% of cheese is sourced from suppliers using Red Tractor assured farms or Bord Bia’s Sustainable Dairy Assurance scheme. The remainder of cheese comes from EU and New Zealand suppliers where it will comply with EU legislation.

Other

Lamb

All lamb sourced is from either the UK or New Zealand. UK farms are Red Tractor assured and the New Zealand farms are assured to the suppliers’ own Farm Assurance Programme which was implemented in 1997 and is JAS-ANZ/ISO017065 accredited. This ensures the ‘Five Freedoms’ are upheld, with farmers committing to maintaining the high standards of animal health and husbandry required.  All farms also meet our customers own high welfare standards.   

 

Avoidance of routine activities

Cranswick is committed to the avoidance of routine activities such as tail docking, teeth clipping, castration on pigs and beak trimming on poultry. We work closely with our UK and global producers and meat suppliers in these areas.

Currently 30% of the pigs in our supply base are not tail docked. 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, 70% of European pork purchased originates from farms that do not carry out castration. We foresee that more suppliers will move towards non-castration. For example, one of our main European pork suppliers has made good progress in this area, 95% of their pigs are now not castrated.

2.3% of our laying hens are free from beak trimming. Ducks are free from mutilations. Furthermore, we are happy to report that 100% of our dairy cows are not tail docked.

 

Avoidance of close confinement

Cranswick closely work with all our global suppliers and we are committed to the avoidance of confinement through all species across all geographies. For example, in 2018 over 90% of pork (including EU) processed by our sites was sourced from farms where sows are not confined at all during the gestation period. All our UK pork supply comes from Red Tractor approved farms where it is a requirement not to confine sows during the gestation period.

Furthermore over 45% of pigs from our UK pork supply are reared to higher welfare standards associated with outdoor bred or outdoor reared production methods. Cranswick are also working with UK and EU indoor pig producers, looking at free farrowing systems. Consequently, 5% of our UK indoor supply is now from farms that have the capability to be free farrowed.   

100% of all our chicken, duck and turkey sourced is free from confinement, meaning they have enough space to express natural behaviors. Over 40% of our broiler chickens that we process are sourced from RSPCA Assured accredited farms, which operate at lower stocking densities. Our commitment to avoid close confinement also extends into the ingredients that we purchase; all our egg products are sourced from Free Range farms meaning they are cage free.

We do not source any beef from suppliers who use concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFO’s). 95% dairy cows free from confinement, with our UK dairy supply base being 100% free from confinement.

 

Environmental enrichment

Cranswick recognise that providing animals with suitable, species specific, environmental enrichment can make a huge contribution to improving animals’ living conditions. Consequently, Cranswick encourage all suppliers regardless of the species or location to provide some form of environmental enrichment.

All UK pigs supplied to Cranswick must have permanent access to environmental enrichment in order to satisfy their investigation and manipulation behavioral requirements. Examples of environmental enrichment include straw, wood, objects such as footballs and deformable-plastic pipe. Chains alone are not acceptable. Furthermore, all our pigs from UK higher welfare farms must have straw as environmental enrichment. For our European suppliers, all pigs must have some form of environmental enrichment. A chain alone is acceptable however a chain with something manipulable attached is preferred.

All UK chicken (meat) supplied to Cranswick must have permanent access to environmental enrichment in the form of bales/boxes, perches/platforms and pecking objects from day 7 at the latest. Cranswick’s own farms ensure the birds have access to bales, perches and pecking objects from day 1. For EU chicken (meat) as a minimum the litter provided must be of sufficient quality to allow for scratching and dust bathing.

For all UK turkey sourced environmental enrichment such as perches and pecking objects must be provided from day 7 at the latest. For EU turkey as a minimum the litter provided must be of sufficient quality to allow for scratching and dust bathing.

Both the UK and EU end of lay hen meat sourced by Cranswick must be from suppliers where the hens have had access to nest boxes, perches and scratching/pecking areas.

Cranswick require that all laying hens supplying eggs into Cranswick must have access to the outdoors, as well as being provided with nest boxes and perches within the hen house. Litter must also be provided to allow for scratching and dust bathing. For all duck supplied to Cranswick they must have environmental enrichment in the form of bathing water and straw. The water facilities must allow the duck to cover their head and take water up by the beak so that they can shake water over the body without difficulty.

All lamb throughout our entire supply must be sourced from farms where the lambs have had access to pasture. Furthermore over 80% of our entire beef and dairy supply will have been sourced from farms where the animals have access to pasture or other forms of environmental enrichment such as brushes for dairy cows.

Cranswick’s own brand, Woodalls, use outdoor bred pigs where they have access to straw as an enrichment material for the whole of their lives.

 

Cloning and Genetic Modification

It is a requirement of our producers and technical conditions of supply contract that no animals across the Cranswick supply base are subject to any genetic modification. We specify to all our suppliers that we will not use genetically engineered or cloned livestock.

 

Antibiotics

It is also a requirement of our producers and technical conditions of supply contact that our suppliers do not use artificial or hormonal growth promoting substances when rearing animals.

We are working with the industry to ensure that best practice is used on all species from all our suppliers and that antibiotics are only prescribed when absolutely necessary. To ensure the avoidance of growth promoting substances in our supply chain, we actively monitor the reports published by the Veterinary Medicines Directorate. 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. In the UK antibiotic usage as dropped significantly, between 2012-2017 poultry dropped by 82% and between 2015 – 2017 usage dropped by 50% in pigs.

We are also monitoring the use of antibiotics in our own herds and flocks with a view to reducing the amount administered without compromising animal welfare. Our own pig farms have reduced antibiotic usage by over 60% from 2015 to 2018 and they have not used any critically important antibiotics in the past 24 months. Their usage is also lower than the UK target of 99mg/PCU by 2020.

Our own poultry business hasn’t used any critically important antibiotics since 2017 and has reduced antibiotic usage by over 10% in the last year. Their usage is significantly lower than the UK poultry target of 25mg/PCU by 2020.

Feed & Animal Diets

All species have diets designed specifically for them, taking into account factors such as digestibility, natural diet and stage of their life. Feed can only include materials and additives permitted by EU Law, for our UK supply base materials and additives must also meet UK Law and the Red Tractor scheme standards. Antibiotic or hormonal growth promoters must not be used. The composition of all purchased and home mixed feed must be known, and samples kept.

Cranswick’s Own Mill

Cranswick operate their own mill that supplies feed into Crown Chicken as well as other farms in the surrounding areas. There is an in-house nutritionist formulating to ideal protein concept, meaning lower protein levels in diets, reducing emissions of nitrogen (ammonia) – lowering risk of respiratory problems. Because Cranswick owns the mill that supplies feed to their own farms, diets are totally under the control of Crown this enables them to react to changes of raw materials, again preventing ammonia emissions and other excessive nutrients in the guts of animals avoiding negative effects on the animal’s health. The close relationship between the mill and the farms allows trial work to be carried out efficiently and effectively.

 

Transportation

Livestock journey times from the farms to our production facilities are all within 8 hours and are typically:

  • Yorkshire site – 38% within 1 hour, 79% within 2 hours and 90% within 3 hours
  • Norfolk site – 48% within 1 hour, 79% within 2 hours and 90% within 3 hours 
  • Northern Ireland - 51% within 1 hour, 76.1% within 2 hours and 95% within 3 hours 
  • Crown Poultry - 100% within 2 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, including dairy cattle and laying hens.

 

Our Processing Sites

Across all our UK animal processing sites we have our own teams of qualified Animal Welfare Officers (AWO). These have all been independently trained and certified by external organisations such as Bristol University, Livestockwise (Pigs) and Poultech (Poultry) who run industry recognised welfare courses. In addition to this the poultry farm managers are also independently welfare trained. They are responsible for inspecting the animals 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. There is also an independent vet on site monitoring the animal’s welfare and inspecting all animals ensuring our welfare standards are met and implemented. All our sites have CCTV which is regularly monitored both by the Cranswick team internally and externally by independent persons. Footage is kept for a minimum of 3 months. Animal welfare is an integral part of our business and as such, the importance of welfdare forms part of our induction and training for all new staff even if they do not work within the abattoir area.

Good animal welfare in the lairage is an integral part of the business. Consequently, there are both announced an unannounced welfare audits throughout the year, Cranswick also use a consultant to audit and suggest improvements within the lairage. As continuous improvement is key to good animal welfare there is a team who discuss managing animal welfare, any improvements that can be made and trials can be discussed and implemented.

 

Stunning

In Cranswick’s Technical condition of supply contact it is a requirement that all global suppliers ensure all species of animals, including dairy cattle and laying hens, 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. As part of Cranswick’s own factory welfare outcome measures we can report 100% effectiveness of stunning prior to kill.

 

Monitoring and Reporting on Performance

Disease

We closely monitor disease outbreaks and potential threats to our UK and global supply chains. These findings are reported quarterly at technical meetings or sooner if an urgent issue arises. Examples of diseases monitored are PEDV, African Swine Fever, Avian Influenza and Newcastle Disease.

Animal Welfare Breaches

We have a dedicated crisis management team, who, in the event of an industry issue arising, can deal with the situation swiftly and appropriately. Ensuring we retain the confidence of our customers by prompt and effective management. This applies to meat and non-meat (dairy & egg) products. Ultimately, we will cease trading with the supplier if we are not completely satisfied with the outcome.

BBFAW

We recognise the Business Benchmark Farm Animal Welfare review as a well-respected independent assessment of our business commitment to farm welfare standards where we aspire to remain in Tier 1 which we first gained and have retained since 2016.

Real Welfare Outcomes

Real Welfare involoves on-farm assessment of pig welfare using a set of five objective and repeatable measures. These assessments are carried out by specially trained veterinary surgeons.

In the UK, 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 on both their farm and processing sites.

Cranswick Audits

In 2018 our audit team conducted over 250 farm and processor audits both within the UK and internationally. We are happy to confirm that there were no major non-conformances and all minor non-conformances were actioned within an agreed period of time.

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. 

Objectives and Targets

We work in partnership with our customers and have a set of farm animal welfare objectives. These are regularly reported to our customers, reviewed and areas for continuous improvement discussed.

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. The table below shows some of our objectives.

 

KPI

Target date

2014

2015

2016

2017

2018

2019

All animals to be stunned before process

2012

100%

100%

100%

100%

100%

100%

All eggs to be sourced from free range farms

2012

100%

100%

100%

100%

100%

100%

Typical transport times to our own processing sites - below 8 hours

2012

100%

100%

100%

100%

100%

100%

All dairy cows to be free from tethering

2020

N/A

N/A

95%

95%

95%

95%

Farm assurance – all suppliers across all species to source from nationally recognised farm assurance schemes.

 

If no scheme is available, then a trained animal welfare officer will audit and benchmark a selection of farms against a recognised scheme such as Global Gap or an in-house scheme.

 

Note: All UK pigs are red tractor approved.

EU (Pig) suppliers

2020

88%

92%

100%

100%

100%

100%

Beef

2017

80%

98%

100%

100%

100%

100%

Lamb

2014

100%

100%

100%

100%

100%

100%

Poultry

2020

85%

94%

100%

100%

100%

100%

Eggs

2016

N/A

N/A

100%

100%

100%

Dairy

2025

N/A

N/A

N/A

90%

90%

                       

 

Outcome Measures

Cranswick record health and welfare outcomes within our factories and on our own farms.

Pigs

The graphs below show the trends for Dead on Arrivals, lameness, slips/falls and body lesions year on year since 2016 for pigs through our abattoir.  Cranswick are always looking for ways to improve performance and relay any issues back to suppliers on the health and welfare of their pigs.

Screenshot 2019-10-28 at 11.47.06.png

Poultry

As Cranswick recently acquired the Poultry Division, historical data on health and welfare outcome measures within our factories and on our own farms is not available to allow for trending of outcome measures. However, we are always looking for ways to improve performance and relay any issues back to the poultry agriculture team. Once the new factory is built, we hope to be able to report poultry outcome measures accurately.

 

Projects and Innovation

We work closely with both our customers and suppliers and run producer groups that look at all aspects of animal welfare throughout the pig and poultry production chains.  The Cranswick agricultural team are working on numerous projects looking at rearing systems, breed development, welfare, sustainability, traceability, environment, and ethical standards. Some examples of these are:

  • Pig sustainability project with Leeds University.
  • Non-confinement of Sows during Farrowing with both our UK & EU supply base.
  • Trials to research the link between animal feed and eating quality for pork and poultry.
  • Industry best practice guide on the use of antibiotics.
  • On farm hatching
  • Water sanitisation projects
  • Feed trials, looking at the use of supplements and essential oils to promote health and welfare
  • Types of enrichment and their effectiveness

 

In addition, Cranswick have set up concept farms that will be involved in industry trials and research to enhance farm animal welfare.

Animal welfare doesn’t end on farm, within our processing sites we have a team looking at projects and trials to improve animal welfare. Some examples of these are:

  • Changing the lighting colour to blue to create a calmer environment
  • Different types of paneling within the lairage pens

 

Educating the wider community

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’s own Wayland Farms, host Open Farm Sundays. Cranswick also attend agricultural shows to engage producers in promoting higher farm welfare systems to the general public. Our graduate and apprenticeship schemes also put great emphasis on high welfare standards and it is incorporated into their training programme. Within the business we also have upskilling days and offer pig farm visits where staff members learn about animal welfare.

 

Recognition

In 2018 our own Wayland Farms won the Special Achievement Award in recognition of the work and progress made in responsible use of antibiotics at the National Pig Awards. Furthermore, at the Antibiotic Guardian Awards 2018 they also achieved highly commended in the Agriculture and Food category.

In 2017 our own brand, Woodall’s, was awarded the Good Pig Award by Compassion in World Farming. Cranswick also became ‘Certified Humane’ allowing exports for the USA market.

In 2016 our own Wayland Farms won the Training Initiative Award at the Pig & Poultry Awards. Showing we invest in the people looking after our animals ensuring animal welfare is a main focus.

A member of the agriculture team, who took part in the Cranswick Graduate Scheme after completing a degree at Harper Adams University won the Meat Management Magazine’s: Young Manager of the Year award in 2016.

Over the years both Cranswick and our independent suppliers have achieved recognition for their hard work and dedication to animal welfare. Achieving many awards such as Farmers Weekly Pig Farmer of the Year, NPA Producer of the year, Indoor Producer of the year, Investor in training and Technical Innovation of the year showing that both ourselves and our suppliers are continuing to meet the high standards expected.

Cranswick have also worked closely with retailers who have subsequently won awards such as Compassion In World Farming Good Pig Award.