Loblaw, Sobeys and other Canadian companies lag on animal welfare improvements


Some Canadian companies as well as global food brands are failing farm animals by not improving animal welfare standards, according to our latest BBFAW report launched in partnership with Compassion in World Farming.

The leading global measure of corporate action on farm animal welfare

The 2020 Business Benchmark on Farm Animal Welfare (BBFAW) report, launched on March 30, reveals that 59 of 150 companies reviewed rank in the lowest tiers (tiers 5 and 6), indicating that they provide little or no information on their approach to farm animal welfare.

More surprisingly, one in five (31) of these global food companies has no farm animal welfare policy at all.

There is some encouraging news, however: 23 companies moved up at least one tier. Yet the average score for companies overall is just 35%, showing there is much room for improvement.

Two captive monkeys are hosted in a barren cage, one monkey lays limp on its side.

Chickens crammed together on a factory farm. Image credit: iStock.com/roibu

Maple Leaf Foods is the best performing Canadian company in the report, remaining in Tier 3, the same as in 2019. The company has an overall commitment to farm animal welfare with specific policies on key animal welfare related issues including the reduction of antibiotic use and caged housing conditions for mother pigs (breeding sows).

However, it does not publish clear company-wide policies on certain key animal welfare related issues such as the avoidance of painful procedures done to animals like castration and clipping piglet tails. Nor is it clear on the provision of species-specific enrichment, such as straw for pigs or perches for chickens.

Loblaws and Sobeys came in at Tier 5. Sobeys does not have a formal animal welfare policy at all and Loblaws has limited details on the scope and implementation of an animal welfare policy.

Both companies lack company-wide policies on key animal welfare related issues including the avoidance of caged housing, reducing or avoiding routine use of antibiotics and the avoidance of painful procedures such as dehorning.

All companies were assessed on their approach to managing farm animal welfare in four areas: (1) Management Commitment, (2) Governance and Management, (3) Innovation and Leadership, and (4) Performance Reporting and Impact.

The full list of 150 companies



Marks & Spencer

Noble Foods




Coop Group (Switzerland)

Co-op UK

Danish Crown



Groupe Danone

Hilton Food Group

J Sainsbury

Marfrig Global Foods

Mitchells & Butlers


Premier Foods




Wm Morrison

Woolworths Group

2 Sisters Food Group



Arla Foods

Auchan Holding




Charoen Pokphand Foods

Cheesecake Factory (The)

Chipotle Mexican Grill

Coles Group

Compass Group

Domino’s Pizza Group

Elior Group

Hormel Foods Corporation

IKEA (Inter IKEA Group)

JBSJD Wetherspoon

Jeronimo Martins


LDC Groupe

Les Mousquetaires

Lidl Stiftung & Co

Maple Leaf Foods

McDonald’s Corporation


Minerva Foods


Perdue Farm

REWE Group

Royal FrieslandCampina

Schwarz Unternehmens Treuhand/Kaufland


Tyson Foods

Vion Food Group

Yum! Brands

Agro Super

Ahold Delhaize


Associated British Foods

Campbell Soup Company



Coop Italia

Cooperativa Centrale Aurora Alimentos

Coopérative U Enseigne

Cooperl Arc Atlantique



Darden Restaurants

Edeka Group


Gruppo Veronesi

ICA Gruppen Kroger Company (The)

Metro AGOSI Group

Papa John’s Pizza

Plukon Food Group

Restaurant Brands International


Sysco Corporation

Terrena Group

Tönnies Group

Walmart Inc/Asda

Wendy’s Company

WH Group


Amazon/Whole Foods Market


BJ’s Wholesale Club Holdings



Cooke Seafood

Cracker Barrel

Dunkin’ Brands

Dairy Farmers of America


Empire Company/Sobey’s

General Mills Inc

Groupe Lactalis

H E Butt Company

Hershey CoInspire Brands

JAB Holding Company

Kerry Group

Loblaw Companies Limited


Meiji Holdings


Mondelez International

Publix Super Markets

Sanderson Farms

Seaboard Corp

SSP Group


Subway/Doctor’s Associates

Target Corporation

Umoe Gruppen


US Foods

Aeon Group


Bloomin’ Brands

C&S Wholesale


China Resources Vanguard

China Yurun Group Limited

Chuying Agro-Pastoral Group

CKE Restaurants CNHLS

Conad Consorzio Nazionale


Dico’s/Ting Hsin International Group

Gategroup Holding


Industrias Bachoco

Lianhua Supermarket Holdings Co

Maruha Nichiro

Müller Group

New Hope Liuhe Co

Nippon Ham

Seven & i Holdings

Wens Foodstuff Group

Yonghui Superstores Co



Changes needed 

Company data indicates that more needs to be done to deliver positive welfare impacts for animals, including:

  • Only one in eight companies reports on the proportion of laying hens free from beak trimming. Of these, just four companies (3%) report that more than 25% of laying hens in their global supply chains are free from beak trimming. 
  • Only one in eight companies reports on the proportion of broilers from breeds that have better welfare due to a more natural growth rate. Of these, just one company (<1%) reports that more than 25% of broiler chickens in its global supply chain are from strains of birds with improved welfare outcomes and with a slower growth potential.

Some positives for animals

While there is clearly a long way to go, there were some encouraging moves, such as:

  • The percentage of companies that report on the proportion of broiler chickens from breeds that grow at a more natural pace resulting in improved welfare outcomes has increased to 13% from just 4% in 2019. While this proportion is still low, this was a new question added to the Benchmark in 2019 and scored for the first time in 2020. 
  • Thirty-one percent of companies, compared to just 21% in 2019, report on the proportion of animals (including fin fish) in their global supply chains that is pre-slaughter stunned. While we welcome this improvement, the vast majority of companies still do not report this data.

The future of BBFAW

From April 2021, we will hand over the BBFAW baton to Four Paws International. We, alongside Compassion in World Farming, have steered BBFAW since its inception in 2012 by providing the vision, dedication, technical expertise, and financial support.

Our organization will continue to take an active interest as Four Paws and Compassion in World Farming support and drive forward the BBFAW program as it enters its second decade.