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Coles, Woolworths rank in middle of pack in global animal welfare report

Australia’s two major supermarket chains Coles and Woolworths have appeared for the first time in a global animal welfare report and ranked in the middle of the pack.

Now in its fourth year, the Business Benchmark on Farm Animal Welfare (BBFAW) provides an annual review of how 90 of the world’s leading food companies are managing and reporting their farm animal welfare policies and practices.

As the ABC reports, the report ranked Woolworths as tier 4 and Coles (Wesfarmers) as tier 5 in terms of animal welfare. (Tier 1 includes the best performers, while tier 6 includes the worst performers).

The report is compiled in collaboration with animal welfare organisations Compassion in World Farming and World Animal Protection (WAP) and investment firm, Coller Capital.

"They [Woolworths and Coles] are making commitments on specific animal welfare issues but what we're looking to see is comprehensive animal welfare policies addressing all issues associated with their operations," WAP head of campaigns Nicola Beynon told the ABC.

The report relies on publically available information so rankings may be adversely affected by companies’ reporting of their policies and practices.

As BBFAW director Nicky Amos told the ABC, both Woolworths and Wesfarmers are addressing animal welfare issue but they need to clarify their policies.

Such clarity could well see them rank higher.

Overall, the report found that the companies surveyed are increasing the importance they attach to farm animal welfare.

For example 69 per cent of companies now have published farm animal welfare policies (compared to just 46 per cent in 2012); and 54 per cent of companies have published targets on farm animal welfare (up from 26 per cent in 2012).

Image: The Conversation.

 

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