Updated August 2018

We are determined to be the best in our sector with regard to the production of sustainable, quality livestock, grown to the high welfare standards which our customers expect.

We have a defined animal welfare policy, agreed with the Board, and implemented and managed by our group agriculture team. To view our animal welfare policy, Click HereThe policy applies to 2 Sisters Food Group livestock species processed at our sites in the UK. 

2 Sisters are committed to driving up animal welfare standards within the industry through our business and partnerships with our suppliers. We are proud of our animal welfare standards across all aspects of the supply chain, from farm to fork, and ensure we source from a supply base which is committed to high welfare standards in its production system. We adhere to, and exceed many regulatory standards within the food sector, and are constantly looking at ways to improve our standards even further. 

Poultry standards

We grow a number of different types of chicken in the UK to meet our customer requirements, from indoor to organic.

We grow a number of different types of chicken to meet our customer requirements, from indoor to organic production.

Indoor birds

2 Sisters grow three types of indoor birds. They spend their time in large barns where they are free to move, scratch and exhibit other natural behaviors. All of the birds are provided with environmental enrichment such as natural daylight, play bales, perches and pecking objects. 

 

Standard Broilers

All our standard birds are grown to Red Tractor Standards, which is a national farm assurance scheme. The scheme involves annual independent audits across all our Red Tractor assured farms to verify compliance with the standard. This considers all aspects of broiler production including stocking density, biosecurity and environmental enrichment. At 2 Sisters, we have also produced our own code of practice, which sets standards beyond those required by the red tractor scheme.  

 

Higher welfare birds

We grow several flocks of birds which are produced at a lower stocking density, giving them more space to stretch, move and exhibit natural behaviours. A specialised diet may also be given, dependent upon customer requirements.

 

RSPCA Assured

We work with a large number of growers in the South West to produce indoor birds which meet the standards set by the RSPCA. These birds are a slow growing breed, produced at lower stocking densities to give them more space. These farms are inspected and certified by the RSPCA annually. 

 

Outdoor birds

2 Sisters produce two types of birds which are free to range outside their houses should they wish to. All of the birds are provided with environmental enrichment.

 

Free Range

All farms are Red Tractor approved, and some will also be RSPCA Assured approved. We use a slow growing breed of chicken for our free range production, and they are free to roam inside and outside their houses during daylight hours, once they have developed their feathers (from 28 days of age as a minimum). The birds prefer to be outside at dawn and dusk, and often return to the house for food and a rest in the middle of the day! They have the same environmental enrichment standards as our standard birds. We have a range of house types, from static small houses, houses with verrandahs and also some small mobile houses. Our farmers have planted trees and installed bird shelters to help encourage the birds to range as much as possible. We also produce corn fed chickens which have a special diet, containing a minimum of 50% maize for 50% of the birds’ life. This gives the birds the characteristic yellow colouring and a different flavour.

 

Organic

Our favourite organic breed is the Hubbard, which is a slow growing breed. For organic birds, all sites must be independently audited and approvedby one of the organic certification bodies and must also comply with the DEFRA Compendium of Organic Standards (or equivalent) as a minimum. These standards control basic husbandry and specify which feed ingredients and medicines are to be used. The birds are grown to a minimum 70 days old and like free-range birds can choose to roam inside and outside their houses. They have all the environmental enrichment you’d expect, like our standard and free range birds.

  

Our Poultry Commitment

2 Sisters Food Group is proud of our animal welfare programs and the journey we are on to improve animal care. Over the last several months a number of our clients have made commitments to adhere to standards set out in the Better Chicken Commitment/European Broiler Ask and implement them by 2026.

Consistent with our history of listening to our consumers, customers and animal advocacy organisations and in addition to our own initiatives, 2 Sisters Food Group is committed to working alongside existing and future new customers to provide products that meet their demand and adhere to the standards set out in the Better Chicken Commitment/European Broiler Ask. These higher standards of care include:

  • Comply with all EU animal welfare laws and regulations, regardless of the country of production.
  • Implement a maximum stocking density of 30kg/mor less. Thinning is discouraged and if practiced must be limited to one thin per flock.
  • Adopt breeds that demonstrate higher welfare outcomes: either the following breeds, Hubbard JA757, 787, 957, or 987, Rambler Ranger, Ranger Classic, and Ranger Gold, or others that meet the criteria of the RSPCA Broiler Breed Welfare Assessment Protocol.
  • Meet improved environmental standards including:
    - At least 50 lux of light, including natural light.
    - At least two metres of usable perch space, and two pecking substrates, per 1,000 birds.
    - On air quality, at least the requirements of Annex 2.3 of the EU broiler directive, regardless of stocking density.
    - No cages or multi-tier systems.  
  • Adopt controlled atmospheric stunning using inert gas or multi-phase systems, or effective electrical stunning without live inversion.
  • Demonstrate compliance with the above standards via third-party auditing and annual public reporting on progress towards this commitment.

2 Sisters Food Group is committed to helping customers bring these practices to fruition and will work hard to provide the quality and welfare standards to which these companies have committed by their respective deadlines.

 2 Sisters Food Group is committed to creating a brand that will meet the criteria detailed in points 1-6.  In the short term, a trial will be conducted to assess consumer demand via limited volumes over the next 12-18 months.  Once consumer feedback has been obtained, 2 Sisters Food Group is committed to increase volumes to meet full supply by 2026 and provide the necessary agriculture, processing and packing facilities to meet this demand.    

Animal feed ingredient sustainability 

2 Sisters aims to only use ingredients in its animal feed that are responsibly sourced. We will deliver this commitment by partnering with suppliers in our UK poultry supply chain who purchase from sources which are recognised for being responsibly produced. Where these do not exist we will work with industry and other interested parties to develop these sources.

 

To view our animal feed sustainability policy, Click Here.

Clones in the supply chain

Our strict livestock procurement policy prohibits the procurement of animals which have been cloned. We work proactively with our producers in our UK supply chain to ensure that every effort is made to prevent meat from cloned animals or their 1st generation offspring from entering the food chain.

 

To view our clones in the supply chain policy, Click Here.

Live transport of animals

2 Sisters is committed to ensuring the transport of live animals is carried out in a humane manner, which minimises stress. Thus, maintaining good animal welfare and product quality. All transportation is within the Red Tractor Assurance scheme guidance. 2 Sisters endeavour to transport animals for no more than 8 hours from first animal loaded to last animal killed.

This commitment will be delivered by regular auditing, adequate training, adjustments being made dependent upon environmental conditions and purchasing from suppliers within a reasonable distance. 

 

To view our livestock transport policy, Click Here.

 

 

2016

2017

 

0 - 3 hrs (%)

3 - 6 hrs (%)

6 - 8 hrs (%)

0 - 3 hrs (%)

3 - 6 hrs (%)

6 - 8 hrs (%)

Chicken

9

81

10

9

82

9


N.B.
-The travel time will vary depending on the factory, the time of year and availability of supply. The above figures are therefore averages based on the last 6 months.
-Laying hen transport is undertaken within the requirements of the relevant farm assurance scheme. 

Livestock procurement

2 Sisters is committed to ensuring that the livestock it purchases is from suppliers who are dedicated to high standards of animal welfare. All of our fresh poultry is from farm assured sources. Our ingredients are sourced from restricted suppliers dependent upon our customer requirements, some of which are farm assured sources.

  

To view our livestock procurement policy, Click Here.

 

Slaughter

2 Sisters is committed to ensuring that all animals killed in its abattoirs are stunned prior to slaughter and are killed in a humane manner, appropriate for the species. This carried out through rigorous staff training, regular internal checks and welfare audits of the stun/slaughter process. 

 

To view our livestock slaughter policy, Click Here.

FAQs

How do we ensure that our farm animal welfare policy is effectively implemented?

All our UK farms are regularly independently audited as part of their relevant assurance schemes. 2 Sisters also has a risk based audit programme, carried out by trained auditors. This programme looks at animal welfare in our factories and farms and ensures compliance with 2 Sisters and customer codes of practice. In addition to these audits our area management teams and independent auditors carry out regular inspections/mini-audits of our farms.  

2017

Poultry

Total farms

415

Audits/area manager checks undertaken % of supply base

100

We use outcome measure data plus previous audit results to ensure these audits are well targeted- and that support programmes are put in place for lower ranking farms. Any non-compliances are followed up by the relevant person, looking at immediate corrective action and long term prevention to reduce the risk of re-occurrence.

 

Has the company assigned management responsibility for farm animal welfare to an individual or specified committee? 

The responsibility for the management of farm animal welfare within 2 Sisters is assigned to our head of livestock compliance along with the agriculture director. Our growing partners also have an assigned person to ensure good welfare is maintained. Implementation of the welfare policy is verified by a risk based audit programme and regular discussions with our growing partners.

 

How does the company implement its farm animal welfare policy through its supply chain? 

2 Sisters carries out a number of initiatives including; a risk based supplier auditing programme, audits in our factories and farms, auditing our transportation and by monitoring our antibiotics usage and keeping the policy updated. The company does not directly manage or own the farms, however ensures farm and welfare training is carried out by our suppliers. This training includes poultry welfare, farm hygiene and biosecurity, gait scoring, heat stress management and catching and handling. We internally and externally audit our suppliers to ensure they are using the most up to date 2 Sisters and customer code of practices. 

 

Is the company currently investing in projects dedicated to advancing farm animal welfare practices within the industry?

2 Sisters has an extensive research programme.  The current projects include:

  •  Appropriate enrichment for broiler chickens: an evaluation of litter substrates, as well as other environmental enrichments, such as bales, perches etc.
  • Nutrition: various nutrition trials looking to improve the welfare outcome measures of broiler chickens through improved gut health.
  • Water cleanliness in poultry: evaluation of a number of water treatments for drinking systems to improve water cleanliness and improve gut integrity.
  • Alternatives to antibiotics: a number of trials across species to evaluate alternative products, and systems, to reduce antibiotic usage.

2 Sisters are involved with industry lead initiatives such as through Red Tractor, RSPCA Assured and the British Poultry Council by being on technical committees and providing base information when requested.

 

Has the company received any notable awards or accreditations for its farm welfare performance in the last 2 years?

2 Sisters has received awards from several retailers in the last year for ourwork on innovation (antibiotics), our contribution to the rural community and our contribution to the future of farming.

Recent awards include: 

  • The farm manager from Ferry farm won the prestigious welfare champion of the year award on the 14th September 2017 at the annual Co-op farming conference in Manchester. The Hook 2 Sisters farm manager was chosen for his on-going work in water management whichhas resulted in improved health and welfare of his birds. He pipped other progressive farmers and growers across other sectors of agriculture to win this award. 
  • The Co-op Gold Awards were presented to five farm managers in November 2017. They received the award for their progress on key areas such as antibiotic usage and carbon footprint. 

In addition representatives from our growing partners have been asked to speak at international conferences about the work being done with antibiotic reduction.

 

Does the company promote higher farm animal welfare to consumers through education and/or awareness-raising activities?

  • 2 Sisters have hosted a number of farm events where we have grown all ‘types’ of broiler production on a single site, so that we can show customers, and other interested parties (e.g. CIWF, NFU etc.) the differences between production systems.  
  • 2 Sisters participated in a producer group meeting held in Humberside in June 2018. The meeting consisted of a veterinary update on campylobacter and bio security.
  • The company regularly participates in Open Farm Sunday. This year it was hosted on the 10th June in Little Ness, Shropshire. The event was very successful and included a viewing gallery, bio mass talks, tractor rides and tastings.

 

Does the company have a clear position on the avoidance of growth promoting substances?

2 Sisters is committed to the avoidance of the use of growth promoters. For our poultry there is no use of antibiotic growth promoters, anabolic agents, including growth-promoting hormonal products or similar products which are illegal

 

Does the company have a clear position on the avoidance of close confinement and intensive systems for livestock (e.g. sow stalls, concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs), feedlots, farrowing crates, single penning, battery cages, tethering, veal crates, force feeding and, for finfish, high stocking densities and close confinement of solitary finfish species)?

2 Sisters is committed to the avoidance of close confinement.

  • Our birds are not kept in cages but are instead housed in barn systems.  
  • Stocking densities for all species are in line or better than recognised farm assurance schemes relevant for the species. 

 

What proportion of broiler chickens for own-brand fresh/frozen products and ingredients in the company’s global supply chain are reared at lower stocking densities?

We grow several different specifications of birds where the planned stocking density is 30Kg/sqm or less. In 2017 approx. 19% of flocks placed were grown to these lower stocking densities.

 

2017

 

Planned SD </= 30Kgm2

Planned SD >30Kgm2

% of flocks

19

81

We also have significant numbers of chickens grown without thinning - this leads to much lower placement levels, which is as significant in terms of space as terminal stocking density.

 

What proportion of fresh/frozen pork products and ingredients in the company’s global supply chain is sourced from pigs that are free from sow stalls? 

100% of the pork products and ingredients in our supply chain are sourced from pigs that are free from sow stalls.

 

What proportion of fresh/frozen milk or milk products and ingredients in the company’s global supply chain is sourced from cows that are free from tethering? 

100% of the milk / milk products and ingredients in our supply chain are sourced from cows that are free from tethering.

 

What proportion of animals in the company’s global supply chain are pre-slaughter stunned? 

2 Sisters is committed to ensuring that all animals (i.e. 100%) in our global supply chain are stunned prior to slaughter and that this is carried out in a humane manner, appropriate to the species.

 

What proportion of animals in the company’s global supply chain is transported within specified maximum journey times? 

2 Sisters is committed to ensuring the transport of live animals is done in a humane manner, which minimises stress in the animals thereby maintaining good animal welfare. All (100%) live species which enter our supply chain are transported within our maximum permitted live transport times (8 hours maximum) this being monitored. 

 

Does the company report on welfare outcome measures (i.e. measures linked to the physical, emotional and/or behavioural wellbeing of animals)?

2 Sisters produce a full suite of outcome measures monthly for poultry processed at our UK sites. These are shared with our customers.  We also produce benchmarked reports for our farmers, so they can see how they perform against their peers.

 

Does the company have a clear position on the avoidance of routine mutilations and report on the proportion of animals in its global supply chain that are free from these procedures (i.e. castration, teeth clipping, tail docking, toe clipping, dehorning, desnooding, de-winging, disbudding, mulesing, beak trimming, fin clipping)?

The company takes a clear stance on the avoidance of mutilations to our broiler chickens, our policy is that practices such as beak trimming are not allowed. Therefore, there are no mutilations carried out to broiler chickens. However, some beak trimming is allowed in breeding males in line with farm assurance standards, this being done to prevent injury to the hens.

 

Does the company assure its welfare scheme to a prescribed standard?

All farms are Red Tractor approved (with the exception of a small number of organic farms, which have the relevant organic approval). 2 Sisters also sets our own codes of practice which above the base line of red tractor. In addition, some farms may be approved to RSPCA Assured standards. Our suppliers are subject to regular supplier audit programmes.

These codes of practice ensure that the requirements of the Animal Welfare Policy are met in all animal husbandry systems. The use of 2 Sisters codes of practice, farm assurance schemes and their independent audits form an integral part of this.

 

Does the company report on its performance against its animal welfare policy and objectives?

We set internal targets for all outcome measures and monitor ourselves based on performance.  We also have individual targets in place with the majority of our retail customers and they receive monthly KPI reports. 2 Sisters reports performance to specific customers and we also contribute to the BPC antibiotic reporting through our suppliers.

KPI

Target %

 Poultry (Actual)

 All animals to be stunned before processing

100

100

All chicken to be cage free

100

100

All farmers to be farm assured to a recognised scheme

100

100

Avoidance of growth promoting substances

100

100

The above data refers to those animals slaughtered in 2 Sisters UK factories.