Supermarket retailing: a win for humane treatment of animals
Buried in a Financial Review article today about the revival of Coles is the very, very exciting news that the retailer is taking a lead in forcing the pace of humane and healthy practice in agriculture.
First comes beef without hormone growth promotants (HGPs). According to the paper about 40 per cent of the 7.5 million head of cattle slaughtered in Australia each year are raised using HGPs. I hope that’s triggering a round of projectile vomitng: like you, I don’t want to eat meat with hormones. Coles on its own buys about 350 000 head of cattle a year, and so is pulling in 20 per cent of the non-HGPs stock available on the domestic market.
This is going to drive a change in farmyard practice. This is exciting.Coles is also negotiating with the pork industry so that in Coles supermarkets by 2014 there will be no pig meat grown using sow stalls. This is the cruel incarceration – in barred metal crates – of breeding sows from their 16th week of pregnancy. Coles has also said it would work with its suppliers to mitigate any cost increases to customers.
This too is a milestone.
Coles Managing Director Ian McLeod is reportedly moving to stop Coles selling eggs from caged chickens, to be implemented by 2013. Reportedly he has already pushed down the price of free-range eggs to bring them level to the price of caged-fowl eggs. It follows a decision from Woolworths in 2009 to phase out battery eggs from its private label range.
Market pressure is the ultimate in getting a change from cruel, chemical-dependant farming practice.
If you want to add pressure to these changes, visit the Voiceless website. Voiceless is an organisation advocating on behalf on animals. I am a strong supporter.