The RSPCA and the Scottish Association of Meat Wholesalers (SAMW) both welcomed Aldi’s announcement that the supermarket would not sell chlorine washed chicken or hormone beef as a crucial debate is due to start in the House of Lords.
The low cost retailer – which stocks RSPCA Assured products, joined Waitrose in pledging not to sell lower welfare imports. Its fresh chicken and beef range is already 100% British and the company confirmed that this will never change.
SAMW executive manager, Martin Morgan, said that association members ‘warmly welcome’ Aldi’s pledge to never sell chlorinated chicken or hormone-injected beef, urging all other retailers in the UK to take note and do likewise.
This week will see the House of Lords discuss the landmark animal welfare law – The Agriculture Bill – considering a number of amendments which could see current British animal welfare standards safeguarded by law.
RSPCA polling showed 67% of people are opposed to the import of food products produced to standards unlawful in the UK.
Chris Sherwood, chief executive of the RSPCA said: “It is great to see retailers like Aldi and Waitrose speaking out against lower welfare imports – it shows that shoppers of all incomes have no appetite for lower welfare imports.
“We would welcome other retailers making the same commitment – however more importantly we want to see the Government take action now to to enshrine in law the Government’s manifesto commitment that they would not accept imports of food products produced to lower welfare standards.
“The House of Lords is debating this issue this week – it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity to safeguard and improve farm animal welfare now and for the future.
“We should export higher welfare standards not import barren battery cage eggs, pork from pigs kept in sow stalls, hormone fed beef or chlorinated chicken which will undercut British farming standards and start a race to the bottom in animal welfare standards.”
“Along with our supporters, we now anxiously await the discussion and vote in the House of Lords.
“This is a critical moment for the Government to show that their commitment to maintaining standards and protecting British farmers – and farm animals – is more than lip service.”