Survey shows how supermarkets and high street food chains are ignoring animal welfare – not least pigs.
Jerome Flynn was so shocked to find that most supermarkets and high street food chains are still sourcing their pork almost entirely from factory farms, that he took to the high street in order to raise awareness. In an eye opening series of videos being released by the campaign group Farms Not Factories, Jerome talks to shoppers to find whether they think that it is acceptable that pig welfare is getting ignored in the high street.
73% of the 60 high street supermarkets & food chains surveyed by Farms Not Factories sell pork from factory farms. The vast majority of these don’t offer a single high welfare alternative. Pigs reared in factory farms (an intensive farming system that is permitted under the Red Tractor labelling scheme) have to endure permanent indoor confinement in barren, overcrowded pens for their entire lives. Mother pigs are kept in narrow metal cages so small they cannot even turn around for weeks on end.
Jerome and Farms Not Factories are calling on people to help end factory farming by signing this letter addressed to unethical high street food chain & supermarket CEOs, urging them to only source high welfare pork across their entire own brand ranges. Farms Not Factories are also calling on the UK government to ban the importation of pork produced in conditions that would be illegal in the UK.
Says Jerome, “Factory Farming is one of the most horrific examples of how far we have strayed from our hearts in the relentless drive for profit and so called progress. We call on all our major retailers to do the right thing and lead the way by ceasing to trade in any meat that isn’t high welfare. If we are going to farm and take the lives of our animals, then it is our responsibility to honour and care deeply for their lives while they are here, by giving them space to play and roam happily. I call on anyone with a compassionate heart to send a strong message to our government and our supermarkets by refusing to buy any factory farmed meat! It’s a horror story that has to stop!”
Tracy Worcester (Director & Founder of Farms Not Factories) personally bought single shares in a number of food chains so that she could attend shareholder meetings and ask questions to the CEOs directly. She warned them that their share values will fall if they don’t follow consumer trends away from factory farmed meat. In a recent report 31% of shoppers in the UK said they would personally boycott businesses with poor animal welfare standards.
There is already a growing number of investors that see the factory farming as a vulnerable investment and are shifting their capital elsewhere. In particular, antibiotics misuse presents a systemic risk to investor portfolios. Factory farms still use antibiotics to prevent disease in healthy pigs rather than treat individual sick animals directly. As a result, 25% of all antibiotics in the UK are used on pigs in factory farms alone. The UK’s outgoing chief medical officer, Dame Sally Davies, has said “antibiotic resistance is one of the biggest threats to human health”.
Thankfully there are some high street food chains that are already setting higher animal welfare standards. McDonald’s only sell RSPCA Assured pork across their entire menu and the Co-op only sells Outdoor Bred RSPCA Assured pork throughout their entire own-brand fresh pork range. For a full breakdown of the 60 popular supermarkets and high street chains surveyed, visit Farms Not Factories.
Tracy says, “As consumers we can all help end the horrors of factory farming- that causes endemic animal suffering by cramming pigs into baren concrete cages, spreads excessive slurry and nitrates destroying ecosystems and undercutting smaller scale family farms – only buy RSPCA Assured, Free Range or best of all Organic.”
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