Animal Welfare Conduct and Practice - Responsible Management | Moy Park Ltd
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Animal Welfare Conduct and Practice - Responsible Management

Animal Welfare Conduct and Practice - Responsible Management

Moy Park considers it a moral duty to care responsibly for our animals. The company’s animal welfare programmes seek to guarantee the safety and humane treatment of birds through internal rules and regularly audited procedures. Moy Park has invested in the implementation of modern technologies, upgraded facilities and introduced new forms of rearing and logistics. Moy Park remains committed to pioneering industry leading initiatives and setting the standards with higher welfare estate development and investment. Close relationships with farmers are particularly important. These relationships are supported by technical agriculture teams advising on welfare and animal husbandry. Moy Park provides training and development to its farmers to maintain high standards and professional estate management and ensure they are applied consistently.

Implementing our farm animal welfare policy

We are able to ensure our animal welfare policy is implemented through monitoring, auditing, education and support.

All Moy Park supply farms are internally audited every crop by our Technical Advisors and Farm Area Managers. These audits cover animal welfare, health, biosecurity, hygiene and traceability. This information is recorded on the farm by the farmer. These auditors are trained to the same standard to ensure consistency. This is in addition to independent external audits (Red Tractor and customer audits).

Through our consulting vets, all Moy Park farmers are trained on welfare, health, biosecurity, hygiene and traceability. All supplying farmers have the Poultry Passport – a recognised training certificate in these areas.

Farm Animal Welfare Policy

Moy Park’s policy on farm animal welfare is contained within the document below, “AAP3.3 Health and Welfare”. The scope of this policy is universal across UK and Ireland production of chicken.

Moy Park has fully trained Poultry Welfare Officers on each processing site who are responsible for farm animal welfare. They track and monitor poultry welfare key performance indicators (KPIs). Senior managers monitor this data on a weekly basis.

Management responsibility for farm animal welfare

Moy Park’s senior managers oversee the implementation of our farm animal welfare policy by regularly reviewing the auditing system, auditing results and trends of key welfare indicators which are recorded on a daily basis. The animal welfare policy is reviewed monthly at Board level by reviewing a report of summary welfare KPIs. A welfare audit sheet is completed for every crop.

These welfare KPIs are determined and agreed in consultation with our customers, setting objectives and targets for the management of farm animal welfare. The standards are established using Red Tractor or equivalent requirements. In addition some customers seek more rigorous specifications than those industry standards.

Animal Welfare – Objectives, Targets, Performance

Our objective for the management of farm animal welfare is to maintain the highest level of welfare at our farms and ensure the 5 freedoms are maintained.

The physical and behavioural wellbeing of animals is affected by their ability to express their natural behaviour. Moy Park promotes this by providing natural light in our windowed houses along with perches and bales. We have increased the proportion of windowed houses from 60-65% with natural light in 2010 to 75%-80% in 2015, to 100% today, Over 80% of our indoor chicken houses have Hot Water Heating helping us to improve some our welfare indicators by over 10% since 2014.

Independently Assured High Standards

All Moy Park poultry farms are Red Tractor approved and our farms meet or exceed Red Tractor or equivalent welfare standards. Farms are audited to this standard by independent and approved certification bodies. Moy Park carries out an audit on every crop for animal welfare. Annually (CMI) an external auditor audits each site to Red Tractor standards, which results in ACP Certification.

The Red Tractor scheme is an extensive and rigorous standard in terms of its scope and depth and therefore one of the most widely accepted and respected standards in the industry. 100% of Moy Park farms meet the Red Tractor or equivalent standard, and over 75% of chicken produced exceed this standard. Red Tractor assessment covers:- documents and procedures; staff; traceability and assurance status; vermin control; housing, shelter and handling facilities; feed and water; animal health and welfare; biosecurity and disease control; animal medicines and husbandry procedures; fallen stock; environmental protection and contamination controls; depopulation; poultry transport.

Non-compliance issues are specified in contractual obligations. A robust policy is in place to address any non-compliance issues should they arise, specifically we have a set of Standard Operating Procedures for any non compliances, which must be addressed within a specific timescale, and ensure that they are not repeated. Penalties can be imposed if required, but in the first instance we make every effort to make corrective action in a supportive environment. A bonus scheme is used, linked to financial payments, which is directly affected by performance on key welfare indicators.

Implementation of Animal Welfare

Moy Park focuses on a safe and secure supply chain. This is professionally managed and supported by the Quality and Technical team, in order to maintain the highest possible standards of food safety and hygiene.

Moy Park operates a Policy for Supply Chain Assurance. Any purchase of meat products come from approved suppliers who operate to a minimum Red Tractor, or equivalent standard.

Technical standards for raw material sourcing are managed through a bespoke Supplier Assurance Policy for meat and ingredients. Moy Park has developed a comprehensive raw material specification which is completed for all ingredients and packaging items. The maintenance of these standards is supported by a supplier auditing policy carried out by trained personnel. These standards ensure Moy Park only contracts with a select group of consumer focused businesses as our key suppliers.

Staff Training

Staff training in relation to farm animal welfare is undertaken to National Vocational Qualification (NVQ) level. Farmers are trained in NVQs which include a significant element of animal welfare training.

Leading Industry Standards

Moy Park is actively engaged with multiple stakeholders and industry groups with the objective of advancing farm animal welfare within our industry.

The business works in conjunction with customers and their suppliers to address common issues in focus groups and workshops across the areas of energy, agriculture, business continuity and corporate social responsibility. Engagement with stakeholder groups includes the following:

British Frozen Food Federation (BFFF) – the Trade Association for the UK frozen food industry with over 300 members including producers, importers, retailers, brokers, wholesalers and associates.

British Poultry Council - As the trade association for producers of poultry meat from chickens, turkeys, ducks and geese, the Council addresses issues on all parts of the production chain: breeding, hatching, growing, and processing.

Campden BRI - the UK's largest independent membership-based organisation carrying out research and development for the food and drinks industry worldwide. It is committed to providing industry with the research, technical and advisory services needed to ensure product safety and quality, process efficiency and product and process innovation.

Chilled Food Association (CFA) – formed in 1989 to establish, continuously improve and promote best hygienic practice standards in the production of retailed chilled prepared food.

Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Ireland) – the department carries out a variety of functions in support of the industry.

Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DEARA) - promotes sustainable economic growth and the development of the countryside. The Department assists the competitive development of the agri-food, fishing and forestry sectors of the Northern Ireland economy, having regard for the need of the consumers, the welfare of animals and the conservation and enhancement of the environment.

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) - the UK government department responsible for policy and regulations on environmental, food and rural issues with priorities to grow the rural economy, improve the environment and safeguard animal and plant health.

Northern Ireland Food Chain Certification (NIFCC) - a UKAS accredited certification body established by the Northern Ireland agri-food industry as a non-profit making service provider to the industry

Organic Farmers & Growers - a leading organic control body which inspects farms and factories to the required standard.

Red Tractor - a food assurance scheme which covers production standards developed by experts on safety, hygiene, animal welfare and the environment amongst other things.

Animal Welfare Practices

Moy Park does not use battery cages on our farms.

All Moy Park poultry farms adhere to strict standards on stocking density which are more stringent than the EU minimum permitted level. Our maximum stocking density is 38kg/m2 on our farms, however over one third are at 30kg/m2 or less, including free range and organic accounting for c.5% of volume.

In line with our standards we do not permit beak trimming of broilers, within any of our operations.

Moy Park does not process any halal or ritual slaughter meat in any of our primary factories in the UK, France and Holland. 100% of birds that we process in our Primary sites are subject to pre-slaughter stunning, where applicable.

We abide by standards with regard to transport times for live birds. Moy Park avoids transporting birds over long distances. In our Primary sites, we work especially closely with suppliers of birds, the majority of our farms being within a 30 mile radius of our sites. The average journey time is measured at just over 1 hour, the maximum transport time on the road is 3.5 hours from our primary sites. This applies to all species, own-brand and customer brand, in all geographies.

The breeds used by Moy Park are not subject to any form of genetic engineering or cloning in any generation through from pedigree and elite levels to the commercial broiler. The birds are naturally selected for breeding on the basis of traits including welfare and bird performance.

Policy on antibiotic use and reduction

Growth promoting substances have been banned within the EU poultry industry since 2006. Moy Park adheres to the legislation and does not use growth promoting substances.

We do not administer antibiotics as a routine preventative medication. We are focused on producing healthy birds through good hygiene and husbandry practices.

However, like humans, poultry may become ill from time to time, requiring the use of antibiotics. Any use of antibiotics is strictly governed by national regulations and require authorisation by the veterinary surgeons who care for the birds.

Any medication used is licensed by the UK Veterinary Medicines Directorate and undergoes intense scrutiny before being approved for use. Records of medications used on farms are inspected by the auditors of the Red Tractor Scheme and by the local authority Animal Health inspectors as legally required.

Antimicrobial Stewardship Forum

Moy Park has an Antimicrobial Stewardship Forum focused on the education of poultry producers in antimicrobial resistance and best practice to reduce antimicrobial usage and comprehensive data collection to give the poultry industry and regulators a clear picture of poultry usage trends. The poultry meat industry is actively working to provide informed input into the public debate and policy development.

Moy Park established its Food Safety Forum and Antibiotics Stewardship Forum, to ensure our birds are healthy and our products are safe. These Forums include external experts who assist us with the latest scientific developments.

Reporting Animal Welfare Performance

Moy Park is proactive in reporting its animal welfare performance through engagement with key stakeholders, animal welfare representatives, hosting visits from CIWF and others.

Additionally, a leg health welfare plan is being implemented in collaboration with CIWF and the findings are reported to CIWF on a quarterly basis.

Moy Park monitors the key welfare indicators of every flock, overseen by Government controlled staff.

Independent Recognition for Animal Welfare Performance

Moy Park has received significant recognition for its efforts in farm animal welfare.

Moy Park grower, Graham McIlroy, has received a highly commended award in the Progressive Farmer of the Year category at the 2014 Farm Business Food and Farming Industry Awards held at the House of Commons. Graham was recognised by the judges for his use of modern, welfare friendly production techniques. Park farmer Graham McIlroy has won the prestigious title of ‘Young Farmer of the Year’ at the 2013 Farm Business ‘Food and Farming Industry Awards.’ The awards, which were held in the House of Commons in London in December 2013 were a celebration of the best of the UK food and farming industry. Commenting on the calibre of Graham’s submission the judging panel said, “What a highly innovative young farmer Graham is - he knocked our socks off! By embracing environmental improvements to the benefit of the business at every stage and using both solar and biomass generated energy, it would be hard to think of a more worthy winner than Graham. His farm is superbly run, with very well laid plans to expand his impressive poultry business in the future.”

Moy Park farmer Graham McIlroy also scooped the M&S ‘Farming for the Future’ Award in May 2013 for the commitment to renewable energy and long-term sustainability on his farm as demonstrated by providing his animals with the best possible living conditions, reducing the farm’s carbon footprint and a commitment to good farming practices. Graham said: “It is a privilege to receive this award recognising the vision we have to become more environmentally friendly and in doing so, help to make a better world for future generations. Our chicken houses are primarily heated by a multi-heat system fired by a biomass boiler that I sourced from Holland. It’s the first of its kind in the country and as well as reducing gas consumption by a least sixty per cent, the indirect heat creates a climate that the birds thrive in, keeping litter drier and reducing disease.

Mr Joe Lawson, Technical Manager, was recognised for his distinguished service, particularly in the field of animal welfare. Mr Lawson received an award during the British Poultry Council (BPC) Annual Awards at the House of Commons. Mr Lawson received the award for his unique contribution to welfare standards in growing regimes for both indoor and outdoor broilers. This includes the pioneering implementation of Free Range housing and production in the 1980s and more recently Joe introduced the concept of double glazed windows for indoor bird production. He was also involved in the implementation of the EU Broiler Welfare directive and has been on the RSPCA/Freedom Food Chicken Working Group since its inception. The full story is available at

Raising Awareness of Animal Welfare

Moy Park is very keen to promote higher farm animal welfare to all stakeholders, consumers and NGOs alike. This has taken the form of developing higher welfare products, gaining external recognition through rigorous awards processes, promotion through public communication on Moy Park’s website and press releases, as well as hosting high profile visitors.

Our farmers are leaders in animal welfare and we recognise this in our annual awards. The full story is available at

Moy Park has been supplying all organic chicken for the 'Duchy Originals from Waitrose' product range since 2011. Duchy Originals is based on a belief in the value of local organic food, grown and produced sustainably. The ethos of the brand is to produce delicious British, great quality food and drink, while helping to preserve our food heritage and support The Prince's Charities.

The Prince of Wales visited one of Moy Park's contract farms, Bessvale Farm in Upper Ballinderry, Co. Antrim to see firsthand how Moy Park chicken is farmed for the 'Duchy Originals from Waitrose' range.

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