Aramark Ushers In New, More Humane Animal Welfare Policy

(3BL/Just Means) A global company that provides food, facilities management and uniforms purchases a big quantity of egg, dairy and meat products from hundreds of suppliers. That company can have an impact on the food industry. Aramark is the company and it has a new set of animal welfare policy pertaining to egg, pork, veal, beef, poultry and dairy products. The company collaborated with the Humane Society of the U.S. (HSUS) to develop the policy. 

Aramark is no stranger to setting sustainable animal welfare goals, having pledged in 2012 to eliminate sow gestation crates from its pork supply chain by 2017. Since 2011, it has eliminated foie gras from its supply chain. 

Aramark’s new commitments include:

  • Purchasing only cage-free eggs by 2020. This year, Aramark will complete its transition to purchasing only cage-free eggs.
  • Addressing pain relief issues in pigs associated with castration, eliminating tail docking and phasing out the use of ractopamine, a feed additive that promotes leanness. It is banned from food production in over 160 countries.
  • Eliminating all veal from calves confined in crates in the U.S. by 2017.
  • Addressing pain relief issues in cows for disbudding and castration procedures, and phasing out tail docking and dehorning. 
  • Working with suppliers to eliminate the use of hormones or feed additives in cows including recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH or rBST), zilpaterol hydrochloride and ractopamine. 
  • Addressing animal welfare issues associated with the fast growth of broiler chickens and turkeys.
  • Eliminating chicken and turkey slaughtering systems that use live dumping and shackling.

A big part of the policy is working with its suppliers. Aramark will ask suppliers for progress reports, require third party documentation for improvements, incorporate its policy into contracts, and require action when there are cases of animal cruelty. 

The basis for Aramark’s policy is the “five freedoms” of animal welfare by the Farm Animal Welfare Committee (FAWC) of the United:

  • Freedom from thirst, hunger and malnutrition
  • Freedom from discomfort
  • Freedom from pain, injury and disease
  • Freedom to express normal behavior
  • Freedom from fear and distress

Companies are shifting to more humane animal policies

Recently, a number of companies announced similar policies to Aramark’s. Hilton Worldwide is one of those companies. The hotel chain announced last month that it is phasing out cages for egg-laying hens and gestation crates for sows from its global supply chain. Hilton will phase in the new egg commitment by first requiring all hotels in the Hilton Hotels & Resorts, Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts, Conrad Hotels & Resorts, Canopy by Hilton and DoubleTree by Hilton brands to use only cage-free eggs by December 31, 2017. It is requiring its pork supply chain to be gestation-crate free by December 31, 2018. 

Sodexo, the French food services and facilities management company, is another global company with a new animal welfare policy. The company announced in February that it is implementing a new animal welfare policy in the U.S. The new policy extends to its poultry, beef and veal supply chains. The company is phasing out the use of veal crates by 2017 and egg-laying hens in cages by 2020. 

Over 60 billion animals are raised for food globally every year. More and more consumers want those animals to be raised in humane conditions. A 2014 survey of Americans found that 69 percent prioritized animal welfare in food purchasing decisions. 

Photo: pontla