Apologies for the silence over the last couple of weeks; I have been away. But although relaxing in the sunshine, work was not completely forgotten, and if you visit my Facebook page you will get a glimpse of what I was up to when not soaking up the sunshine. 

So now I am back, and I want to return to a theme that I have written about before — and that is recognition of effort. While I was away, I was contacted by the UK-headquartered Compassion in World Farming. Despite having to jump out of the shower to take the call, I was pleased to speak to them, as Compassion is one of those animal welfare organizations that I quite like. 

The organization is currently calling on food manufacturers, retailers and food service businesses to enter the Good Farm Animal Welfare Awards. The 2012 awards are open to companies across Europe, and the winners will be announced in late September. 

Launched in 2007, the Good Farm Animal Welfare Awards recognize companies that are committed to implementing substantial policy changes that result in positive impacts for farm animals. The awards comprise the Good Egg Award, the Good Chicken Award, the Good Dairy Award and, new for this year, the Good Pig Award. The deadline for submissions across categories is August 6.

Compassion says that winning an award can yield significant business benefits, from improving supply chain compliance to enhancing consumer perception and increasing brand loyalty. Past winners have included Switzerland’s Studler, which produces baked goods and chocolate and which received the Good Egg Award in 2011 in recognition of its policy to only use eggs and egg products from barn systems; France’s Les Fermiers de Loue, which works with some 200 free range egg farmers, and which won both the Good Chicken Award and the Good Egg Award in 2011; and the UK’s Packington Poultry, which rears birds on pasture and in woodland. 

Steve McIvor, director of food business at Compassion in World Farming, says: “We are keen to recognize those companies that are actively making commitments and would urge any of you out there to enter our awards.” 

Ask and you shall receive 

There can be no guarantee of winning, but if you don’t ask, you’ll never know, and the potential benefits of winning will never come your way. So if Compassion had not phoned, even if I was in the shower at the time, they would not be the subject of my blog this week. And while the value placed by consumers on animal welfare varies from country to country, as I certainly saw on my recent jaunt overseas, this is an area of increasing importance. 

For more information, go to: www.compassioninfoodbusiness.com/awards