28 April 1995

Co-op imposes limit on livestock journey times

THE Co-op chain of retailers is to introduce an eight-hour maximum journey time for livestock, in response to its customers demands.

In a recent survey of 30,000 people, the Co-op found that consumers were increasingly concerned about ethical issues.

The results showed that 70% of people were worried about animal welfare. "And 76% want fuller facts on products which are cruel to animals or harm the environment," it said.

Two in three wanted clearer and more informative labelling, and 60% said they were willing to pay up to 7% more for goods that met their ethical standards. The survey highlighted that consumers were prepared to penalise retailers and products that failed to meet their requirements.

One in three said they had boycotted a shop or product in the past. But nearly double that number – 60% – said they were now ready to do so.

The Co-ops response to the survey is wide ranging. It intends to develop its Freedom Food range with the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, and impose an eight-hour maximum journey time for animals.

And it will now label intensively produced eggs as "Fresh eggs, intensively produced". This reacts to recent criticisms that the food industry has misled consumers by labelling intensively produced eggs as "Farm Fresh" or "Country" eggs, and packing them in boxes showing farmyard scenes.

The RSPCAs head of farm animals, Dr Martin Potter, said the society had long campaigned for eggs to be labelled clearly, and for a maximum journey time for farm animals going to slaughter. He called the Co-ops initiative a "breakthrough for animal welfare campaigners". &#42

Shelley Wright