Woolworths moves to ethical pork

As of end of September 2014, all fresh pork sold at Woolworths will be sourced from farms that no longer use sow stalls to restrain pregnant sows.

According to the retailer, this initiative to source pork products that are produced in a manner that’s more humane and kinder for sows is part of its Good Business Journey.

Furthermore, Woolworths says this is a major departure from standard practice in South Africa, where sows are kept in restrictive stalls for the entire16-week pregnancy period. Sow stalls allow the pregnant sows to stand up and lie down, but not to turn around. Woolworth’s supplier farms will keep pregnant sows in group housing where they will have the freedom to move around and socialise. “We would like to thank our supplier partners for joining us in giving sows a better quality of life,” says Woolworths MD of foods, Zyda Rylands.

“This is a wonderful example of what can be achieved through our supplier partnerships and goes to show how together, we can lead change. Along with our customers, we have wanted to address this issue of humane treatment of animals for a number of years. I am sure that they will be happy to know that they will soon be able to buy more humanely-produced pork at Woolies,” she adds.

Customers will begin seeing ‘Kinder to sows’ stickers on fresh pork at Woolworths from the end of September. From the end of December, all Woolworths-branded fresh processed and cured pork products, such as bacon, boerewors and sausages, will follow the same farming practices as fresh.

Compassion in World Farming has welcomed the Woolworths announcement. “We are extremely pleased that Woolworths and their pig farmers are changing the way sows are treated. We hope that other producers will soon follow suit,” says the organisation’s spokesperson, Louise van der Merwe.