More surprisingly, one in five (31) of these global food companies has no farmed animal welfare policy at all.
There is some encouraging news, however; 23 companies moved up at least one tier. Yet, the average score for companies overall is just 35%, showing there is much room for improvement.
Some of the lowest-scoring companies – ranked in tiers 5 and 6 of the Benchmark – are Albertsons, BJ’s Wholesale Club Holdings, Chick-fil-A, Mars, and Subway. Mars and Subway have been assessed annually since BBFAW started in 2012, yet they continue to lag significantly behind their peers on farmed animal welfare.
Chickens crammed together on a factory farm. Image credit: iStock.com/roibu
Brands stepping up for farmed animals
Leading names such as Marks and Spencer and Noble Foods rank high, reflecting their hard work improving animal welfare in their supply chains.
The most improved companies since the BBFAW was launched in 2012 include Nestlé, Sodexo, Barilla, and Waitrose, which have moved up an impressive three tiers since they were first assessed.
The full list of 150 companies
Marks & Spencer
Coop Group (Switzerland)
Hilton Food Group
Marfrig Global Foods
Mitchells & Butlers
2 Sisters Food Group
Charoen Pokphand Foods
Cheesecake Factory (The)
Chipotle Mexican Grill
Domino’s Pizza Group
Hormel Foods Corporation
IKEA (Inter IKEA Group)
Lidl Stiftung & Co
Maple Leaf Foods
Schwarz Unternehmens Treuhand/Kaufland
Vion Food Group
Associated British Foods
Campbell Soup Company
Cooperativa Centrale Aurora Alimentos
Coopérative U Enseigne
Cooperl Arc Atlantique
ICA Gruppen Kroger Company (The)
Metro AGOSI Group
Papa John’s Pizza
Plukon Food Group
Restaurant Brands International
Amazon/Whole Foods Market
BJ’s Wholesale Club Holdings
Dairy Farmers of America
General Mills Inc
H E Butt Company
Hershey CoInspire Brands
JAB Holding Company
Loblaw Companies Limited
Publix Super Markets
China Resources Vanguard
China Yurun Group Limited
Chuying Agro-Pastoral Group
CKE Restaurants CNHLS
Conad Consorzio Nazionale
Dico’s/Ting Hsin International Group
Lianhua Supermarket Holdings Co
New Hope Liuhe Co
Seven & i Holdings
Wens Foodstuff Group
Yonghui Superstores Co
Company data indicates that more needs to be done to deliver positive welfare impacts for animals, including:
Only one in eight companies reports on the proportion of laying hens free from beak trimming. Of these, just four companies (3%) report that more than 25% of laying hens in their global supply chains are free from beak trimming.
Only one in eight companies reports on the proportion of broilers from breeds that have better welfare due to a more natural growth rate. Of these, just one company (<1%) reports that more than 25% of broiler chickens in its global supply chain are from strains of birds with improved welfare outcomes and with a slower growth potential.
Chickens crammed together in a cage
Some positives for animals
While there is clearly a long way to go, there were some encouraging moves, such as:
The percentage of companies that report on the proportion of broiler chickens from breeds that grow at a more natural pace resulting in improved welfare outcomes, has increased to 13% from just 4% in 2019. While this proportion is still low, this was a new question added to the Benchmark in 2019 and scored for the first time in 2020.
Thirty-one percent of companies, compared to just 21% in 2019, report on the proportion of animals (including fin fish) in their global supply chains that is pre-slaughter stunned. While we welcome this improvement, the vast majority of companies still do not report this data.
Motivation for lasting change
Consumer interest and growing momentum for companies to take an interest in animal welfare shows why the world’s most influential food companies should be willing to change and continue to improve year on year.
Steve McIvor, World Animal Protection CEO, said:
“COVID-19 has brought new challenges like never before, but despite this, we must continue to accelerate and drive forward the animal welfare movement. We must do better for the world’s 50 billion animals who are factory farmed each year, causing immense suffering. Not only do the cruel practices of intensive farming subject animals to misery, but they expose us to potential diseases and risks too. The BBFAW tool exposes those companies that care for animals and those that do not.
Animal cruelty is becoming more and more important for consumers – producers, supermarkets, and restaurants would be foolish to ignore it. This tool brings all the commitments together in one place, providing a clear and transparent scorecard for all to see.”
The future of BBFAW
From April 2021, we will hand over the BBFAW baton to Four Paws International. We, alongside Compassion in World Farming, have steered BBFAW since its inception in 2012 by providing the vision, dedication, technical expertise, and financial support.
Our organization will continue to take an active interest as Four Paws and Compassion in World Farming support and drive forward the BBFAW program as it enters its second decade.
You can help fix our broken food system for a better, kinder world. Pledge to stand up against low-welfare factory farms, reduce your overall consumption of meat and dairy, vote for initiatives that restrict the sale of factory-farmed products, and support humane and sustainable producers wherever possible.