Farm animal health and welfare in the supply chain

Nestlé recognises and shares the concerns of our stakeholders about the welfare of animals raised for food and the need to ensure sustainable animal production systems. Through our Supplier Code and RSG, which contain a specific commitment on this issue, we are helping to bring about positive change throughout our supply chains.

In 2015, Nestlé continued to build on its public commitment to continuously improve the health, care and welfare of farm animals in our global supply chain.

Our mandatory Nestlé Supplier Code requires each of our suppliers of animal-derived ingredients to meet all applicable laws and regulations on animal welfare, and to communicate this to their suppliers and to the farmers themselves. To further improve the health, care and welfare of the farm animals in our supply chain – and to meet the expectations of our consumers and stakeholders – we have our Nestlé Commitment on Farm Animal Welfare. We are committed to eliminating from our global supply chain specific practices that are not consistent with the internationally accepted Five Freedoms:

  • Freedom from hunger, thirst and malnutrition;
  • Freedom from fear and distress;
  • Freedom from physical and thermal discomfort;
  • Freedom from pain, injury and disease; and
  • Freedom to express normal patterns of behaviour.

We fully support the work of the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) in promoting the implementation of these Five Freedoms in the global supply chain. Nestlé will also support the development and implementation of science-based international standards and guidelines by OIE.

Among the specific practices we have committed to eliminating are:

  • For cattle: dehorning; tail docking, disbudding and castration without anaesthetic and analgesia; and veal crates;
  • For pigs: gestation crates; tail docking; and surgical castration;
  • For poultry and eggs: cage systems, particularly barren cages; and rapid-growth practices with respect to the effects on animal health and welfare; and
  • For animal production systems in general: our first focus is the responsible use of antibiotics in line with the OIE’s guidance, and the phasing out of growth promoters.

The Nestlé Commitment on Farm Animal Welfare serves as the basis of our Responsible Sourcing requirements on meat, poultry and eggs and dairy-based foods and beverages. We have a partnership with World Animal Protection to implement, refine and strengthen our Responsible Sourcing requirements.

We aim for our suppliers to demonstrate continuous improvement in meeting our RSG. We have been working with a number of our suppliers to trace our animal-derived ingredients back to farm. This includes farm-level assessments conducted by an independent third-party audit firm, SGS, to make sure that our requirements on farm animal health, care and welfare are being met. Several hundred assessments have been carried out since 2014 to ensure compliance with our RSG, with World Animal Protection present at a number of these visits. In 2015, we reported the findings of these assessments in our Progress Report on Responsible Sourcing of Dairy, Meat, Poultry & Eggs, and carried out around 360 further assessments during the year. World Animal Protection supports Nestlé through sharing their expertise on farm animal health, care and welfare, and training SGS auditors on animal health and welfare matters, while we provide them with the opportunity to engage further with suppliers and to promote good farm animal welfare practices within the food industry.

Farm animal welfare management ISO working group

Nestlé is actively involved in an international, multi-stakeholder working group to develop an ISO technical specification (TS) on farm animal welfare management. The goal of the proposed TS is to improve the living conditions of animals bred and kept for food production, and to provide a management tool to facilitate the implementation of the animal welfare principles of the OIE’s Terrestrial Animal Health Code. Nestlé representatives contribute to the ISO TS working group through the Swiss Association for Standardization (SNV) and SSAFE (Safe and Secure Approaches in Field Environments), a public–private partnership dedicated to integrating food safety with animal and plant health. The working group is expected to develop the draft TS with a view to a vote in early 2016.

Business Benchmark on Farm Animal Welfare

In recent years, we have contributed to the stakeholder consultation process on the Business Benchmark on Farm Animal Welfare (BBFAW), a global measure of animal welfare standards in food companies supported by World Animal Protection and Compassion in World Farming. In 2014, Nestlé remained in the ‘Tier 3: Established but work to be done’ ranking, indicating that farm animal welfare is an ‘established’ part of our business, but that there are areas for improvement.

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