The second report of the Business Benchmark on Farm Animal Welfare has applauded Coop Group (Switzerland), Marks & Spencer, Arla, Marfrig, Royal FrieslandCampina, Sainsbury's, Vion and Waitrose for the notable improvements they have made in their welfare-related management.

The Business Benchmark on Farm Animal Welfare is a global measure of farm animal welfare management, policy commitment and disclosure in food companies. It is designed for use by investors, companies, non-governmental organizations and other stakeholders interested in understanding the relative performance of food companies in this area.

The most recent edition assessed 70 leading companies from Europe and the U.S., including wholesalers, restaurants and bars (including food service providers), and food producers and manufacturers. It placed them in one of six tiers according to their approach to managing farm animal welfare across three pillars: management commitment and policy; governance and policy implementation; and leadership and innovation.


The report shows that over one-half (56 percent) of the companies reviewed in 2013 had published formal farm animal welfare policies, compared to 46 percent in 2012, and 41 percent had published objectives and targets for farm animal welfare.

Mike Baker, CEO, World Society for the Protection of Animals, said: "Animal welfare should play an integral part in basic food standards; I think we are seeing more demand from both consumers and regulators for this. The Benchmark's effectiveness is demonstrated by the significant changes we have seen in company performance in the last year alone and we hope that will continue year on year."

However, while 71 percent of food companies acknowledge farm animal welfare as a business issue, almost one-half have yet to formalize their approach to managing the issue.