Animal welfare group files petition against Aldi

aldiDiscount supermarket Aldi has disagreed with reports that it is lacking in terms of animal welfare policies and information for its customers.

World Animal Protection (WAP) has called on Aldi Australia in a petition launched on Tuesday to introduce a comprehensive animal welfare policy for its home brand products.

Aldi responded to the petition saying it is committed to animal welfare.

“Our corporate responsibility principles guide us in our day-to-day actions and we partner closely with our suppliers to achieve our high standards,” an Aldi spokesperson told Inside Retail. “As part of our commitment, suppliers of Aldi branded fresh meat (beef, lamb, pork and poultry) are required to be audited against Aldi’s standards, which are based on continuous improvement.”

WAP said Aldi’s rival supermarkets provide customers with extensive information on their animal welfare policies. However, Aldi Australia has a single page on “animal welfare”, which says fresh meat must meet “Aldi’s standards”, yet WAP claims there’s no information on what these standards are.

“In recent years, the treatment of animals has increasingly attracted local and international attention, reflecting a shift in consumers’ expectations of acceptable standards for farm animal welfare,” said Ben Pearson, senior campaign manager at WAP.

The NGO said a credible animal welfare policy should include information on how pork suppliers treat their pigs. Also, they said Coles and Aldi UK don’t use sow stalls in their home brand pork products while Woolworths home brand fresh pork meets the definition of sow stall free.

“We are calling on Aldi to make sure its suppliers raise pigs right,” Pearson said.

Aldi said it is a signatory to the Australian Livestock Processing Industry Animal Welfare Certification System (AAWCS) for its fresh meat products.

“All fresh beef, lamb and pork products are only sourced from suppliers who can demonstrate the superior animal welfare practices that are required to be certified under the AAWCS,” the spokesperson said.

The spokesperson said also that the products displaying the AAWCS logo have “been humanely processed”. Its standards are reviewed bi-annually by an industry-led committee.

“The committee includes industry experts and representatives from animal welfare groups, government and animal welfare scientists to ensure they remain current and in line with best practice,” the spokesperson said.

The German discount supermarket chain plans to open additional 32 stores in Australia this year. It will refresh 40 more with a new store format, increasing its focus on fresh produce, healthy foods, organic and meat.

Aldi also intends to finalise the rollout of its new store format to all its Australian stores by 2020, with more than 100 already trading under the repositioned offer, in response to the “evolving tastes and preferences of our customers” within a range of fresh produce, and categories including healthy foods, organic and meat.

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