Casino Group, together with three animal protection organizations (CIWF, LFDA and OABA), launch first animal welfare labeling in France

Casino Group joined hands with three independent organizations recognized for their expertise in favor of animal welfare (Compassion In World Farming France-CIWF France, La Fondation Droit Animal, éthique et sciences  -LFDA and the association Œuvre d’Assistance aux bêtes d’Abattoirs -OABA) to offer the first labeling on animal welfare. This approach, unprecedented in France, aims at strengthening  transparency on animals’ breeding, transport and slaughter conditions and therefore at giving clear and reliable information to the consumers.

The four partners worked during almost two years to build together a solid reference table of criteria fit to evaluate the level of animal welfare (stocking density, outside area, care, transport, method of slaughter, etc.), as well as a notation method. The labeling provides several levels of notation which value the processes that guarantee a significant improvement of animal welfare and go beyond the statutory requirements.

Tina SCHULER, Casino’s Chief Executive Officer declares: “the first products have been labelled and will be in the Géant Casino and Casino Supermarchés stores from December onwards. Thus, the consumers will be informed about the level of welfare of the whole and cut chickens of the Casino Terre & Saveurs brand”. This label is placed on the packaging of the products near the weight/price tag. This labeling is intented to be spread on other Casino brand broiler chickens and beyond the perimeter of Casino products as well. Matthew RICHÉ, CSR Director at Casino Group adds: “we are currently thinking about implementing an associative structure which would support the approach of animal welfare labeling and would integrate new actors who wish to label their products according to the established reference table.”

For Amélie Legrand, in charge of agribusiness affairs at CIWF France, “This labeling will encourage the consumers to favor purchases which are more respectful of animal welfare and to value the work of the breeders committed to this matter. It was important for CIWF to accompany Casino on this ambitious and pioneer initiative in France.” It is part of a process to improve breeding practices, transport and slaughter in the animal production chain and to strengthen the transparency of the products sold by giving precise and reliable information to the consumers about the level of animal welfare of the products they buy.

For Dr Jean-Pierre Kieffer, President of the OABA, “the OABA is pleased with this initiative and is proud to take part in it. The labeling will allow the consumers to have clear information about the breeding and slaughter conditions of the animals. The video surveillance will contribute to improving the control of the practices in the slaughterhouses “. The consumer information website www.etiquettebienetreanimal.fr, launched on December 5th, will provide all the information on this labeling.

For Louis Schweitzer, President of the LFDA, “the LFDA is delighted at the outcome of this initiative launched with Casino, the OABA and CIWF. It wishes that thanks to information provided to the consumers, this project leads to a major improvement of the farm animals’ situation, as it was the case with the labeling of eggs which the LFDA introduced 30 years ago “. This methodology was designed to be spread to other categories of products. It also has to be used, afterwards, as a national referent (even European) for the implementation of a harmonized system of animal welfare and protection labeling on food products. Indeed, 98 % of the French consider the well-being of farm animals to be important and even very important and 96 % declare themselves favorable to the implementation of a labeling on meats and dairy products depending on the breeding technique.

This labeling, unique in France, is based on a reference table including 230 animal welfare criteria, which takes into account all the stages of the animal’s life: birth, breeding, transport, slaughter. The criteria are verified by independent external controls that take place during all the stages. The reference table and the control procedures were co-built and validated by the three animal welfare expert organizations in cooperation with the producers working with Casino. The label presents four levels of animal welfare (A, B, C and D). The levels A, B and C guarantee a significant improvement of the animal’s welfare, the level D is the standard level in line with the legislation in force.

The first labelled products will be available on the shelves of the Géant Casino and Supermarchés Casino stores on December 10th.