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At Danish Crown, we give high priority to animal welfare and ensure good animal welfare from farm to abattoir. Besides, the best meat is achieved from healthy, thriving animals.

In 2021, we updated our animal welfare position paper and specified our approach and practice. The position paper applies to all markets, the production of both pork and beef and all Danish Crown brands. It defines our position on important animal welfare issues such as tying up and the use of boxes and farrowing pens, routine tail docking, teeth clipping or grinding, castration, transport, cloning and the use of genetically modified animals, growth promoters and antibiotics, rooting material and pre-slaughter anaesthetisation. Animal welfare requirements are also set out in our Code of Practice for cooperative owners, which lays down minimum requirements to be met by suppliers of pigs and sows to Danish Crown in Denmark, in separate Codes of Practice for haulage contractors in Denmark and Sweden and in our general Code of Conduct for suppliers.

EU animal welfare legislation sets out common minimum requirements covering all markets.  We also comply with national legislation, industry standards and customer-specific welfare programmes that sometimes go beyond EU requirements. We market a range of special products produced according to high animal welfare standards and contribute to the development of labelling schemes, such as Better Animal Welfare, the Danish state-driven animal welfare label.

Strict control process

In Denmark, Sweden and Germany, our control process for animal welfare goes beyond EU requirements. The process has three steps: Self-checks, which are carried out by specially trained farm and abattoir staff; veterinary controls with stateemployed veterinarians monitoring the entire process from rearing of the animals at the farms to inspections of individual animals at the abattoir; and unannounced external controls performed by relevant authorities and customers. The controls include mortality, proper use of hospital pens for animals and the use of medicines, which are monitored closely at the farms and are always subject to approval by the affiliated veterinarians.

Certification of animal welfare at abattoirs

At all our abattoirs, trained staff handle livestock. To ensure a common approach, we have developed a certification programme for animal welfare at our abattoirs expected to be implemented in 2021/22. The baseline for the programme is based on self-auditing against EU legislation and a benchmarking programme measuring our performance against customers with special animal welfare requirements.

Target

We want to be ranked Tier 1 in the Business Benchmark for Farm Animal Welfare (BBFAW) Report by the end of 2022.

SDGs

We support target 2.4 by promoting sustainable food production systems and implementing resilient agricultural practices.

Gentle and short transport
In Denmark, Germany and Sweden, we are at an advanced stage of development in terms of safe, gentle and short animal transport from farm to abattoir. All our vehicles have modern ventilation equipment, deck heights, compartment divisions, bedding, cover, requirements on rules for stocking density and a requirement that drivers are trained in transporting live animals.

Retained Tier 2 ranking

In April 2021, we were once again ranked Tier 2, the second highest level, in the Business Benchmark for Farm Animal Welfare (BBFAW) Report 2020, the leading global measure of political commitment, performance and animal welfare disclosure in food companies. The report ranks 150 global food companies across 37 animal welfare criteria covering all animal types.

We are very pleased that we retained our ranking, the second highest level, and even improved our score in the category. In this year’s report, BBFAW had slightly adjusted the weighting of some of the 37 valuation criteria, and this made higher demands on Danish Crown’s results.

The Benchmark ranks Danish Crown among the companies that have made farm animal welfare an integral part of their business strategy. The main reasons given for this ranking were increased transparency in relation to our management approach and practices on promoting animal welfare and veterinary health. Danish Crown is also recognised and commended for being one out of only 12 food companies demonstrating and assuming leadership within animal welfare in agriculture.