Walmart adopts positions on antibiotics, animal welfare
New standards seek to eliminate use of medically important antibiotics for growth promotion purposes, find alternatives to layer cages and gestation crates
Walmart and Sam’s Club of the United States have adopted a new position seeking responsible use of antibiotics in farm animals, as well as new standards for animal welfare for the companies that are meat, poultry and egg suppliers for the company. The company released its new positions on May 22, but no timeline on implementing the new positions has yet been given.
Company seeks alternatives to gestation crates, layer cages
The company's new animal welfare standards involve working with its suppliers to “find and implement solutions to address animal welfare concerns” that include animal housing systems. Walmart and Sam's Club specifically mentions finding alternatives to gestation crates for pigs and battery cages for laying hens. The company also has provisions that seek alternatives to veal crates.
The company is also expecting its suppliers to not conduct potentially painful procedures such a pig tail docking and cattle dehorning without using proper pain management practices.
Limiting animal antibiotic use
Walmart stated that the company believes antibiotics should be used responsibly in farm animals. With that in mind, it is asking suppliers to adopt and implement the Judicious Use Principles of Antimicrobial Use from the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), including accurate record-keeping, veterinary oversight, and limiting antimicrobial treatment to animals that are ill or at risk, effectively eliminating the use of medically important antibiotics for growth promotion purposes.
Additionally, the company wants to promote transparency by having suppliers provide a report on antibiotics management to Walmart and publicly report antibiotic use on an annual basis.