Big business is failing farm animals: Amazon, Walmart, Starbucks and many more

February 26 2019

The 2018 Business Benchmark on Farm Animal Welfare (BBFAW) report reveals that many of the world’s biggest food and restaurant brands are ignoring animal welfare concerns.

The shocking new report finds that farm animal welfare isn’t even on the agenda for some of these huge companies. This is totally unacceptable, considering the scale of suffering in factory farms: 

  • 40 billion chickens are subjected to overcrowded factory farms every year 
  • Many will have a space smaller than a piece of paper to live in, in barns crammed with up to 10,000 chickens 
  • They will spend most of their lives sitting or lying in their own waste 
  • Piglets on factory farms have their teeth clipped or ground and tails cut off 
  • Three out of four mother pigs are confined to cages the size of a fridge 

Good farming and farm animal welfare is better for animals, people and the planet. It’s time for these businesses to take responsibility and strive to do better. 

BBFAW

Walmart, Restaurant Brands International (includes Tim Horton’s and Burger King), Maple Leaf Foods, and Amazon (owner of Whole Foods) along with other major players need to step up their game when it comes to animal welfare in Canada and worldwide. That comes from a report launched today, February 26, 2019.

The shocking report finds that farm animal welfare isn’t even on the agenda for some of these well-known and trusted companies.

The seventh BBFAW, backed by World Animal Protection and Compassion in World Farming, is the leading global measure on farm animal welfare. It ranks 150 global food companies on farm animal welfare standards in tiers 1 to 6, with tier 1 being the best, and tier 6 the worst.

Click here to read the full 2018 BBFAW report.

Who's failing?

The Benchmark shows that there is more work to be done by major household names, which sit towards the bottom of the ranking.

Amazon, owner of Whole Foods Market, was ranked in tier 5, as were Starbucks, Papa Johns, Subway, Campbell Soup and Hershey. 

Multinational retail giant Walmart was placed in tier 4 – a shocking result for one of the world’s largest companies. Last year the company was in tier 3.

The report states Walmart has a lack of consistency in addressing animal welfare in the different markets in which it operates. Researchers also found that the company has no global position to address the cruelest farming practices, such as the caging of farm animals, routine painful mutilations, inhumane slaughter and long-distance transport of live animals.

Consumers have no way of knowing how farm animals are treated in Walmart’s supply chain as the company does not provide information on the impact of its farm animal welfare activities on the lives of animals.

Take a look at our ranking for chicken welfare in the fast food industry here.

Who's doing better?

Unilever and Danone both ranked highly in tier 2 by showing that farm animal welfare is integral to their business strategy. 

British companies dominate tier 1. Waitrose, Marks & Spencer, Cranswick (one of the largest food producers in Britain), and Noble Foods (makers of GU Puds) have all taken the lead on farm animal welfare.  

Overall, things are improving

Since BBFAW launched in 2012, big businesses are starting to do better: 

  • 53% of companies now have explicit board or senior management oversight of farm animal welfare 
  • 71% have published formal improvement objectives for farm animal welfare  
  • Of the 55 food companies that have been continuously included in the Benchmark since 2012, 17 (31%) have moved up one tier, 20 (36%) have moved up two tiers and 8 (15%) have moved up three tiers 

Think twice before you buy. Your purchasing power makes an impact:

Jacqueline Mills, Global Head of Farming for World Animal Protection, says: “If you care about animals then you really should think twice about handing your money over to Walmart. Giants like Walmart must take animal welfare much more seriously. They have the power to transform the lives of animals by implementing global policies to ensure farm animals have lives worth living. World Animal Protection is calling on Walmart to improve the lives of pigs around the world starting with ending the caging of pregnant pigs in their supply chain.”

In Canada, Walmart committed to do this by 2022 as part of a Retail Council of Canada commitment. Competitors Sobeys and Loblaw have publicly reiterated this commitment, but Walmart has not yet done so. World Animal Protection’s global campaign Raise Pigs Right is empowering consumers to push Walmart to be more transparent.

A recent poll conducted by World Animal Protection showed 92% of Canadians believe it is important that pigs are reared in conditions with high welfare standards and 75% found imagery of pig farming upsetting, wrong or shocking. 

Lynn Kavanagh, a Campaign Manager for World Animal Protection, says: “Food producers, supermarkets and restaurant chains in Canada and around the world can no longer afford to dismiss animal welfare. Consumers now have more information available to them. Many Canadians do care about animals and want to know how their food is produced and that animals are at the very least treated humanely.”

Fighting for better farming

Factory farming is the largest source of animal cruelty on earth. We must push governments to create strong laws to protect farm animal welfare and we must push companies to be transparent and better about how they treat farm animals.

Click here to visit our farming program pages for more information about our work to improve the welfare of farm animals.

Food producers, supermarkets and restaurant chains in Canada and around the world can no longer afford to dismiss animal welfare. Many Canadians do care about animals and want to know how their food is produced and that animals are at the very least treated humanely.

Tell the world:

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