What is OSI Doing to Progress Animal Welfare?
May 3, 2021
Ensuring respect for animals at every stage of the supply chain and taking the lead on Animal Welfare is an integral part of OSI’s Global Sustainability Strategy and one of the main targets. In Europe, Animal Welfare is a core priority, with strategies in place to promote the highest standards from farm to customer.
Animal Welfare On-Farm
At farm level, OSI Europe supports the farm assurance schemes in each country we operate in. For example, in Germany we encourage suppliers to source from the Farm Assurance Scheme QS (Quality and Safety). This has largely been achieved for beef and pork, with 100% of pork and nearly 90 % of beef now coming from farms which have been checked and certified against the QS criteria. Similar schemes are in place in other countries, like Red Tractor in the UK and Cultivate, OSI’s sustainability scheme in Poland.
As well encouraging our suppliers to source from farms which have been audited and received certification to show compliance with animal welfare regulations, OSI Europe promote going above and beyond the legal requirements in each country. For example, the Best Beef programme in Germany incentivizes farmers to use good husbandry practices which enable cattle to better express their natural behaviours, such as using a loose housing system or pasture.
Animal Welfare During Transport
Ensuring animals have their needs met during transport by enabling adequate space, separating into smaller groups and keeping short transportation times of the journey, is an important aspect of Animal Welfare in the supply chain.
At the European supply base, a transport training programme is provided to all slaughterhouses, which deliver to OSI. The training is shared with all responsible persons in the relevant areas and of course with the truck drivers, who transport the animals. This covers all elements of ensuring a high standard of welfare during the transportation of livestock, and includes extra things to think about, such as precautions to be taken in especially for hot or cold weather conditions.
In Germany and the UK, all suppliers have CCTV installed to monitor every stage of the slaughter process including arrival and unloading, stunning and also the bled-out area. The suppliers carry out a physical check on each day of slaughter, plus a daily CCTV audit. By having camera monitoring in place, it enables the unannounced inspection and whether the culture for Animal Welfare implemented at the employees handling of live animals is front of mind at all times.
CCTV footage is a further tool to assure, that all animal welfare expectations are being met at the slaughterhouse. There is a roll-out plan for the CCTV systems already installed in the UK and Germany to be replicated with suppliers across Europe, as they achieve the best results in terms of maintaining the highest welfare standards at slaughter.
Suppliers have access to and have signed off the OSI Manual on Animal Welfare, which sets out key expectations to abide by, plus additional guidance on achieving the highest possible welfare standards. An extensive auditing regime, which includes first, second and third party audits, is in place to ensure we build a full understanding of the suppliers performance with regards to Animal Welfare.
Each supplier carries out their own Animal Welfare in-house checks and keeps records of these. Additionally, OSI Europe carry out an annual audit, which includes pass/fail checks on animal welfare elements, plus general management checks.
Finally, OSI Europe requests suppliers verify their program via an independent audit, carried out by a third-party auditing company. We receive full reports after these audits which helps us understand the status-quo. Any non-conformances need to be solved straight away. The audit results are shared with our main customers on a quarterly basis, to provide them with the resources to assure their consumers that Animal Welfare has been prioritized throughout the supply chain.
The OSI Europe monitoring and auditing processes are rigorous, helping to understand where we are and to encourage continuous improvements in Animal Welfare.
We recognize that progress is made when different players in the supply chain work together to resolve issues, which is why we support suppliers to achieve the highest possible Animal Welfare Standards.
OSI Europe has a vision that everyone who comes into contact with livestock at any stage of the supply chain will have a full understanding and appreciation of their own role and responsibility in ensuring Animal Welfare is prioritized. This is being pioneered in Germany, where there is already a goal to create a national training programme, similar to the driver training already in place, which reaches across the breadth of the supply chain.