Whitbread tightens poultry welfare measures

29-08-2018 | |
Photo: Henk Riswick
Photo: Henk Riswick

Leading UK hotel and restaurant chain Whitbread is tightening its animal welfare outcome measures and key performance indicators (KPIs)

It has taken the step to move away from self-reporting by suppliers, which it traditionally used to ensure compliance with welfare requirements.

Instead, from this summer, KPI assessment is now a stand-alone element of the independent inspections that are ongoing across its supply chains.

From June, this monitoring process is allowing performance capture and provides an overview of emerging health and welfare trends,

The areas typically covered include:

• Livestock handling

• Fitness for transport

• Effectiveness of stun and slaughter processes

• Physical injury attributed to farm conditions – ie hock burn in poultry

The company said this week that it would measure its performance on 5 KPI’s covering farm assurance, audits being carried out on farms, number of audits conducted, number of non-compliances identified, managed and closed, supplier support for Whitbread’s due diligence system and completion of a questionnaire.

Latest figures show that while 100% of its egg suppliers belong to farm assurance schemes, just 65% of broilers do so. A total of 31 issues of non-compliance were identified in the 5 audits carried out on broiler farms.

Whitbread, which committed in 2016 to achieving 100% cage free status on all whole shell eggs by the end of 2020 and the same level for ingredient egg products by 2025, across all its brand in the UK and Germany, said it was delivering on its pledges.

“We have already made good progress and 41% of our whole shell eggs are already cage free, meaning we are showing year on year improvement and are well on track to meet our 2020 target of 100%.

“Having made considerable progress on our shell-on cage free commitment, we have now completed the task of mapping our supply base for liquid egg used in manufactured products. This demonstrates that at present 6% of material is of cage-free origin. This now provides the baseline against which to monitor progress against our commitment as a whole.”

It added that at present beak trimming in commercial meat chickens was not practised by producers within any of its global supply chains.

Whitbread is a member of the Business Benchmark on Farm Animal Welfare and last year it was ranked in tier three – up one tier from the previous year.

Tony Mcdougal Freelance Journalist