Carrefour Belgium is tightening its animal welfare requirements for suppliers – banning all meat from castrated pigs and animals slaughtered without prior stunning.
The new rules were developed following consultation with Belgian animal welfare organisation Global Action in the Interest of Animals (GAIA).
Following in the footsteps of other major supermarket chains, Colruyt, Lidl and Delhaize, Carrefour will ban fresh meat from castrated piglets from the end of 2013, which GIAI said this would save approximately half a million pigs annually from undergoing castration.
Pascal Léglise, director of quality, health and sustainable development for Carrefour Belgium, said the move had been scheduled for the end of next year to “give producers time to adapt to the changing marketplace”.
The company said it would leave it up to its suppliers whether to let whole animals move through the chain and detect boar taint on the slaughterline, or vaccinate against boar taint.
The ban on animals slaughtered without prior stunning will come into force this month and apply to all meat, including halal-certified meat. Michel Vandenbosch, president of GAIA, commented: “Carrefour has taken a landmark decision that will save thousands of animals from suffering from slaughter without stunning.”
Carrefour Belgium has also begun negotiations with suppliers to ensure that, from 2013, only eggs from cage-free systems are used to manufacture own-brand products.
The changes have been welcomed by European animal welfare organisation, Eurogroup for Animals, which said: “This initiative will benefit millions of animals each year and Eurogroup really encourages other food retailers across Europe to demonstrate real concern for the welfare of animals.”