In a petition launched on Tuesday, World Animal Protection (WAP) called on Aldi Australia to match its competitors and introduce a comprehensive animal welfare policy for its home brand products.
WAP said while the other major supermarkets provide customers with extensive information on their animal welfare policies with targets and timetables, Aldi Australia has a single page on “animal welfare”, which says fresh meat must meet “Aldi’s standards”, yet WAP claims there’s no information on what these standards are.
“In recent years, the treatment of animals has increasingly attracted local and international attention, reflecting a shift in consumers’ expectations of acceptable standards for farm animal welfare,” said Ben Pearson, senior campaign manager at WAP.
The not-for-profit organisation said a credible animal welfare policy must include information about how suppliers of pork products treat their pigs. Pork is the second most consumed meat in Australia.
According to WAP, Coles and Aldi UK don’t use sow stalls in their home brand pork products and Woolworths home brand fresh pork meets the definition of sow stall free.
“We are calling on Aldi to make sure its suppliers raise pigs right,” Pearson said.
In response to the petition, Aldi said it is committed to animal welfare.
“Our corporate responsibility principles guide us in our day-to-day actions and we partner closely with our suppliers to achieve our high standards,” an Aldi spokesperson told Inside Retail.
“As part of our commitment, suppliers of Aldi branded fresh meat (beef, lamb, pork and poultry) are required to be audited against Aldi’s standards, which are based on continuous improvement.”
Aldi said that in addition to conducting independent audits, the retailer is a signatory to the Australian Livestock Processing Industry Animal Welfare Certification System (AAWCS) for its fresh meat products.
“All fresh beef, lamb and pork products are only sourced from suppliers who can demonstrate the superior animal welfare practices that are required to be certified under the AAWCS,” the spokesperson said.
The spokesperson said products displaying the AAWCS logo have “been humanely processed”.
The supermarket giant said its standards are reviewed bi-annually by an industry-led committee.
“The committee includes industry experts and representatives from animal welfare groups, government and animal welfare scientists to ensure they remain current and in line with best practice.”
The German discount supermarket chain will open 32 stores in Australia this year and will refresh 40 more with a new store format, increasing its focus on fresh produce, healthy foods, organic and meat.
Aldi intends to finalise the rollout of its new store format to all its Australian stores by 2020, with more than 100 already trading under the repositioned offer, in response to the “evolving tastes and preferences of our customers” within a range of fresh produce, and categories including healthy foods, organic and meat.
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