Pick n Pay now announces move to ethical pork

Pick n Pay has announced a major new commitment to accelerate progress on the welfare of pigs in South Africa, promising that its fresh pork will be ‘gestation-stall free’ from December 31, 2015.

A Pick n Pay press release says, from the beginning of 2016, all fresh pork sold in PnP stores must come from farms which use group housing for pregnant sows during the gestation period, allowing freedom of movement and social interaction for the animals.

From 31 December 2016, this commitment will be extended to cover all processed pork products manufactured by PnP.

This follows a similar move by Woolworths who announced in early August that, as at end of September 2014, all its fresh pork would be ‘gestation-stall free’.

Commenting on the announcement, David North, Pick n Pay Group Strategy and Corporate Affairs director said: “This is a major step forward for farm animal welfare standards in South Africa. There is no legislation on phasing out sow stalls in this country, and a voluntary industry deadline does not take effect until 2020.

“We think this timetable is too slow. We have therefore been working with our suppliers and with animal welfare organisations on how we can move on a much faster and more ambitious timescale. We thank all these groups for engaging so constructively with us.

“Achieving a more ambitious timetable in a diverse industry, and in the absence of national legislation, is not straightforward. It raises challenges of enforcement and in ensuring that valued small suppliers can develop the capacity and capability to meet the new requirements.

“Our new deadline of December 31, 2015, for our fresh pork supply reflects these challenges, while setting a bold, new benchmark among the biggest food retailers in South Africa.

“Our new deadline of  December 31, 2016, for our processed pork products takes into account the more complex supply chain for processed products. It is nonetheless an ambitious timetable which will require commitment and change within the industry.

“We will strengthen our own audit process to reflect the new requirements we are introducing. We will also work closely and constructively with all our valued suppliers to ensure the new commitments become a reality. The Ackerman Pick n Pay Foundation has been instrumental in supporting emerging entrepreneurs in this sector and will continue to do so in the future.”

He has urged all in the retail and production chain in South Africa to support the steps PnP is taking and to introduce equivalent standards that would benefit the whole industry as well as the cause of animal welfare.

Related reading:

Woolworths moves to ethical pork