Tesco has pledged to look into eradicating sow stalls in its Thai supply chain after criticism from animal welfare campaigners.
World Animal Protection has accused the Tesco Lotus supermarket chain, Tesco Group’s second largest business outside the UK, of selling pork products from farms where pigs are kept in cages “no bigger than a fridge”.
Sow stalls have been banned in the UK since 1999.
Tesco Lotus in Thailand is selling pork from farms that cruelly confine mother #pigs, making them suffer a life of stress and pain. Tell Tesco’s CEO to put an end to this cruelty NOW: https://t.co/oFt0owzd9C#RaisePigsRightpic.twitter.com/Q6UFnPdoRl
— World Animal Protection UK (@MoveTheWorldUK) April 30, 2019
Tesco said no Thai pork is sold in the UK. However it said it was working with its suppliers in the region to “explore” how it could move sows “out of stalls and into group housing”.
World Animal Protection is calling on Tesco to introduce a global pig welfare policy “to stop this barbaric practice on farms that supply its stores worldwide”.
Ian Woodhurst, World Animal Protection’s farming campaigns manager, said: “Why should a mother pig have to suffer under the Tesco brand just because she’s been born and raised in Thailand?
“She would normally roam around foraging for food, socialise with other pigs and build a nest for their piglets. On a factory farm she cannot do any of this, trapped in a tiny steel cage where she can barely move.
“Supermarkets have the power to make a change for farm animals. We’re urging Tesco to stop this misery and improve the lives of mother pigs on farms that supply its 2,000 Tesco Lotus stores across Thailand.”
The charity has already had success persuading CP Foods, a Thai pork producer, to get sows out of cages in their operations by 2025.
A Tesco spokesman said: “We take care to uphold high standards for animal welfare right across our supply chains which we continuously review according to the latest scientific advice.
“All the pork meat sourced by our Thai business is certified by the Thai government which sets the standards for animal welfare in that country.
“We are currently working with our suppliers in the region to explore how we can exceed these standards by moving sows out of stalls and into group housing.”