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Animal Welfare Policy – Dairy Products
The following policy only accounts for product(s) Suma sells which’s main ingredient is dairy-based, such as: milk, cheese, cream, yoghurt, etc. This includes ambient, chilled and frozen goods.
- We require all products with dairy as the main ingredient to be certified organic. For products sourced from the UK, where reasonably practicable, we require Soil Association certification. This is because of the higher animal welfare standards the certification guarantees.
- When the product is not sourced from the UK, it must be certified organic, with background checks into the welfare standards of the certifying body.
- In addition, we will not deal with suppliers that have any involvement with the culling of badgers.
- For products where dairy is the main ingredient, these must be organic
From an animal welfare perspective, organic standards go over and above the legal requirements and other established certifications, such as Red Tractor. Organic standards require animals to have access to outdoor grazing, to be fed a natural diet, and to not be routinely fed antibiotics, just to name a few benefits.
- We prefer organic products that are certified by the Soil Association
Not only does the Soil Association champion organic food, which is more clean and safer for the environment and the people in the supply chain from fork-to-fork, but more importantly, their “welfare standards are the highest of any farming system in the UK.
By selling milk and dairy products which are certified organic by the Soil Association, we have confidence that that the animals used in our supply chain are protected by the highest welfare standards.
- The business(es) associated with the product(s) must not hold a license which enables the culling of badgers, or enable the culling of badgers by any other affiliation.
Over 176,000 badgers have been killed since the current badger cull began in England (2013), in fundamentally flawed attempts to control bovine Tuberculosis (bTB), an infectious respiratory disease which affects cattle.
This financed murder is a cruel attack on nature and there is a lack of scientific evidence to support the cull having any positive impact on the spread of bTB.
Suma cares deeply about the welfare of cattle, and whilst there are more effective controls farms can practice to protect their cattle from suffering from bTB, we will not work with businesses which enable or promote the culling of badgers.
- Suma reserves the right to randomly inspect the biosecurity measures/assessments/plan of supplying farms
This will inform us about what farms are highlighting as biological threats to their livestock, themselves and the environment, and what they are doing about it – this covers matters such as bTB in their herd.
We could make a statement in our Supplier Contract (or similar – maybe SEQ) that Suma reserves the right to request the biosecurity information of any farm that the supplier works with at any point, which must be provided upon request at the earliest ability.
- Suma supports AssureWel’s guidance that farms continually conduct their own animal welfare assessments
AssureWel (collaboratively led by the Soil Association, the RSPCA and University of Bristol) have created an animal ‘welfare outcome assessment’, which can be used to measure the physical health and wellbeing of farmed animals. It is a requirement of SA Organic Licensees that one of these is completed during annual inspection for recertification.
Farms are also encouraged to regularly self-assess their animals and monitor their welfare, and Suma encourages suppliers to do this, rather than leaving this to the annual Soil Association inspection.
- Suma supports the use of slaughter methods recommended by the Humane Slaughter Association (HSA) and may enquire about the supplier’s practices in relation to this
The HSA standards offer an extra layer of welfare protection for farmed animals. Although this is not currently widely adopted in the industry, it is something we would like to encourage within our supply chain.
Future Policy Development Aims:
- Review the policy on an annual basis, to assess the effectiveness of the current policy, and to look for other opportunities to promote high standards of welfare