Major supermarkets are focusing more on animal welfare activities. German organisation Rewe owned discount supermarket chain, Penny announced last week that it will not sell own brands fresh meat coming from castrated pigs from 2017.
According Rewe every year about 20 million male piglets are being castrated in Germany. These pigs are castrated just a few days after their births without anaesthesia. The extremely painful practice only serves to prevent the unpleasant boar taint. The responsibility of the major supermarket chains for animal welfare is enormous. Therefore, the current initiatives of Rewe and Penny are particularly pleasing.
Also Aldi North and South also has stated that it would not allow the sales of pigs that were castrated without anaesthesia from 2017. The German Animal Welfare Act which would come in practice from 2019 prohibits this from the entire industry by law.
Starting this year, the food industry has decided to put an end to another questionable practice: the beak trimming of laying hens. This was decided in a voluntary agreement with the Ministry of Agriculture, the poultry industry. Also beak trimming is criticized as painful for the animals. It is intended to prevent cannibalism among chickens. Since early February Penny already sold in all stores range eggs from hens with intact beaks. Marius Tünte, spokesman for the German Animal Welfare Society, therefore calls on the whole industry, “to follow the path of Penny and also to listen nationwide such eggs”. Abandoning beak trimming should be alone but still not a sustainable solution: It now is important to make the attitude overall animal-friendly.