506 words, approx. 3 minutes to read

Like our members and customers, we care deeply about the welfare of animals used to produce our meat. Our Co-op does not allow antibiotics to be administered to animals used in our supply chain, unless a vet has provided a prescription.

That’s why today, at our Antimicrobial Resistance Forum in Manchester, we’ve launched the Co-op’s latest Antibiotics Policy which details how:

We’ve been working together with the British agricultural and veterinary industries, other retailers, our farmers and leading bodies to take a truly co-operative approach to tackling this challenging topic.

Why is it important that we have a policy on antibiotics?

We need to reduce the threat of antibiotic resistance to human health and because our role as a responsible and ethical retailer dictates that we must be transparent in this area.

The team and I have been working on this for nearly five years and it’s something I’m personally very proud of.

Working with farmers and partners for better animal welfare

One of the most crucial parts of our strategy is the collection and recording of valid data from our farming groups, so we can monitor our progress against industry targets and publish this data every six months. The strengthened relationship with farmers and suppliers, afforded by our farming groups, means we can have open conversations right across our supply chain that are built on honesty, fairness, and trust. It’s one of the reasons we set up the groups all those years ago.

This is also about working together with the wider industry – other grocers, vets and official bodies like the RUMA (Responsible Use of Medicines in Agriculture Alliance), who have set targets for the reduction, refinement and replacement of antibiotics in animals used in food production and the Food Standards Agency, who carry out regular check-ups.


The results so far

To give you an idea of how we’re doing, we can look to our Dairy Farming Group and the ground-breaking antibiotic monitoring project we are participating in:

Together with industry partners we introduced a new method of monitoring called Average Daily Dose, which takes the farmer’s antibiotics sales from their own vet and then divides it by the average number of cows in the period.

Over the last two years this project has helped farmers and vets make informed choices and reduced total antibiotic use by 13% (45% in critically important antibiotics).

Investing in British agriculture

As a staunch supporter of British agriculture and with plans to invest a further £1bn in to sourcing home-grown meat over the next three years, I hope you can see that our focus on antibiotics and “doing the right thing” is steadfast.

We’re very proud to report on how our transparent and collaborative approach in the field of antibiotic usage is helping animals and consumers alike.

You can read in our latest Antibiotics Policy in full.

 

Ciara Gorst

Head of Agriculture

 

Join the conversation! 11 Comments

  1. Excellent policy from the Coop. But shouldn’t there be more regulation in competitive retail environment? Level playing field etc. Otherwise we lose in the race to the bottom.

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  2. Anything to improve the life of animals has to be applauded and the co-op is obviously making great steps forward in this area of animal welfare.
    All animals deserve respect and dinigty from birth to death. The movement and welfare of livestock on long journeys to abattoirs is not a topic meat eaters particularly want to think about, however this a major concern of mine therefore l would like to hear more from the co-op on this important subject.
    Jan Clough

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  3. That is good BUT can you guarantee that your meat is not Halaal. It isn’t labelled as such in the stores.

    I would like to go back to eating meat….. killed by first stunning and treated with respect in the abbatoir..

    Philomena Leech

    Rudgwick

    RH12 3JJ

    ________________________________

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  4. What about the halal cruelty, what are you doing about that?

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    • Hi Alen, All Co-op own-brand fresh and frozen meat and poultry sold has been humanely stunned prior to slaughter, and all abattoirs and processing plants supplying our own-brand products are required to work to the standards laid down by our strict animal welfare requirements as well as the Humane Slaughter Association in their Codes of Practice.

      We do sell some branded Halal certified meat in a small number of stores where there is sufficient demand, but again this is all pre-stunned prior to slaughter. ^Siobhan

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  5. Hi Phil. All Co-op own-brand fresh and frozen meat and poultry sold has been humanely stunned prior to slaughter, and all abattoirs and processing plants supplying our own-brand products are required to work to the standards laid down by our strict animal welfare requirements as well as the Humane Slaughter Association in their Codes of Practice.

    We do sell some branded Halal certified meat in a small number of stores where there is sufficient demand, but again this is all pre-stunned prior to slaughter. ^Ian

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  6. I’m very glad the Co-op is encouraging the proper and not random use of antibiotics in farm animals. I would like to ask about something else,that is,in my local store there is no meat or poultry marked free range, and I really try to eat only free range pork and chicken .When I asked about this,one member of staff said she thought all your poultry was free range.I am not sure this is correct and would like to know the facts about Co-op meat and poultry in this regard.

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  7. Hi Gillian. Just a few days ago we announced that from July, our own-brand fresh pork, bacon, sausage, gammon and ham will be sourced from 100% outdoor-bred pigs on RSPCA Assured farms. For more on poultry and other food groups, please visit http://coop.uk/2GB5j6g Hope that helps, ^Ian

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  8. There is no humane way to kill a creature that doesn’t want to die

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