3 in 4 supermarkets and food chains sell factory farm pork

Sustain member Farms Not Factories find that most supermarkets and highstreet food chains are still sourcing their pork almost entirely from factory farms.

Pigs. Photo credit: Flickr

Pigs. Photo credit: Flickr

73% of the 60 high street supermarkets and food chains surveyed by Farms Not Factories sold pork from factory farms. 58% only offered pork from factory farms with no high welfare alternative, or had no pig welfare policy at all. Pigs reared in factory farms have to endure permanent indoor confinement in barren, overcrowded pens for their entire lives. Mother pigs are kept in narrow metal cages so small they cannot even turn around for weeks on end.

Tracy Worcester, director and founder of Farms Not Factories, personally bought single shares in a number of food chains so that she could attend shareholder meetings and ask questions to the CEOs directly. She warned them that their share values will fall if they don’t follow consumer trends away from factory farmed meat. In a recent report 31% of shoppers in the UK said they would personally boycott businesses with poor animal welfare standards.

Farms Not Factories say that there is already a growing number of investors that see the factory farming as a vulnerable investment and are shifting their capital elsewhere. In particular, antibiotics misuse presents a systemic risk to investor portfolios. Factory farms still use antibiotics to prevent disease in healthy pigs rather than treat individual sick animals directly. As a result, 25% of all antibiotics in the UK are used on pigs in factory farms alone.

The Farms Not Factories results do shows some positive news. McDonald's only sell RSPCA Assured pork across their entire menu and the Co-op only sells Outdoor Bred RSPCA Assured pork throughout their entire own-brand fresh pork range.

Tracy Worcester believes that knowing about the range of standards in our supermarkets and food chains is incredibly important:

"As consumers we can all help end the horrors of factory farming - that causes endemic animal suffering by cramming pigs into barren concrete cages, spreads excessive slurry and nitrates destroying ecosystems and undercuts smaller scale family farms - by only buying RSPCA Assured, Free Range or best of all Organic."

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