Co-op wins animal welfare award

The Co-operative Group has won an animal welfare award sponsored by The Independent for improving the lives of 20 million chickens.

Marks & Spencer and Sainsbury’s were on the shortlist for the RSPCA People’s Choice award, which was handed to the Co-op at the RSPCA’s Good Business Awards in central London last night.

More than 11,500 people voted for the Co-op to win, in recognition of its work on animal welfare. Among its recent inititiatives, the Co-op has given more space, stimulation and ventilation to 20 million chickens and banned products made from caged eggs.

Many of Britain’s 926m farm animals endure poor conditions, but supermarkets are taking positive steps to improve them following high-profile campaigns by the chefs Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and Jamie Oliver.

The People’s Choice award for large retailers was created to recognise stores that have made solid progress.

David Bowles, RSPCA Head of External Affairs, said: “More than 11,500 people voted in the RSPCA People’s Choice supermarket award, showing that a supermarket with good animal welfare practices does impact on consumer spending.

“The Co-operative beat stiff competition from Marks and Spencer and Sainsbury’s.”

The other award winners were:

- George at Asda (Large Fashion company)

- Neon Collective (Small Fashion company)

- Lush (Large Cosmetics Company)

- The Gamrie Goat (Small Cosmetics Company)

- Restaurant Alimentum (Independent Restaurant)

- The Duke of Cambridge (Pub)

- Edge & Son (Independent Food Retailer)

“All our winners deserve high praise for being leaders in raising awareness of animal welfare issues. We are particularly pleased with the winners of the cosmetics category, through their tireless campaigning and of other companies in this field, we have seen legislative change which means there will be no cosmetics award in future years,” said Mr Bowles.

“The RSPCA now wants to see similar change happen in other industries in the UK; there’s a definite desire from UK consumers to know the provenance of their food and proven desire to ensure a good lifestyle for all animals.”

The awards were judged by independent panels of industry experts and presented at One Marylebone in London.

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