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Carrefour Brazil: Gestating sows max 28 days in crates

Retailer Carrefour has announced that for its Brazilian business, gestating sows cannot be kept in crates longer than 28 days. The announcement formed part of, in total, 5 measures to increase pig welfare in Brazil.

Carrefour, originally a French brand, is one of the largest retailers in Brazil. The new rules apply to Carrefour’s own brand of fresh products, which currently represent 74% of pork in its butcher shops.

Leading the process in Brazil

Lucio Vicente, head of sustainability of Carrefour Brazil, said, “The concern with animal welfare is a global movement and we are leading this process in Brazil, with a focus on adapting our suppliers, always aiming good animal management practices.”

Sows in group housing in straw. Photo: Daniel Azevedo
Sows in group housing in straw. Photo: Daniel Azevedo

Other measures announced by Carrefour included:

  • The banning of animal identification by ear cutting by December 2022.
  • The banning of surgical castration and the adoption of immunovaccination instead by December 2025.
  • Use of teeth grinding only when needed (i.e. in case of aggressive behaviour); and
  • Continuous investments for environmental enrichment.

Carrefour has also committed itself to carry out studies and tests with its suppliers to find a solution for the practice of cutting pig tails, preventing them from being mutilated. At the moment there is no consensus on the subject in the market.

Carrefour as transformation driver

To achieve these advances, throughout 2019, Carrefour conducted a process of engagement with suppliers, in order to work on a solid commitment in the pig chain. Vicente believes the company will act as a transformation driver along the value chain.

Having been in Brazil for over 40 years, Carrefour is present in all states and its operation already covers more than 670 shops. With sales of R$ 56.3 billion (€ 12.5 billion) in 2018 and more than 84,000 employees in Brazil, the country is the 2nd largest operation among all countries Carrefour Group operates.

Changes also announced in Thailand and China

The set of measures are the result of cooperation with animal welfare organisation World Animal Protection. In for instance Thailand and China, the organisation achieved comparable results.