As of 1 January 2017, REWE Group will no longer sell fresh meat from pigs castrated without anaesthetic under its store brands. This ground-breaking decision which is unique in the German retail sector was communicated to the company’s contract suppliers on 11 August 2015. Shortly after birth, some 20 million male piglets are castrated without anaesthetic to eliminate the risk of unpleasant boar taint emanating from male fattened pigs.
"Castration without anaesthetic is no longer acceptable these days. Theoretically, we already know alternative methods to prevent the painful procedure. In cooperation with our suppliers, we have now set up a strategy process aiming to remove pork from pigs castrated without anaesthetic from our range by the end of 2016", says Dr. Klaus Mayer, Head of Quality Management of REWE Group.
This strategic decision is the first implemented measure of the "Mission statement on future livestock farming" that REWE Group has also published the same day and through which the company continues to expand its sustainability activities. This mission statement underlines the values REWE Group stands for and specifies the characteristics of a more sustainable production of animal source foods which is to be implemented in the future. For many years now, the company has been actively involved in animal welfare and animal-friendliness, e.g. with the sustainability label “PRO PLANET”, ensuring a 15 per cent larger coop area for chicken or the egg suppliers’ abandonment of beak trimming of some of their hens, for example. Moreover, REWE Group is a founding member of the "Animal Welfare Initiative" which aims at further developing the already existing projects of REWE Group with regard to improved animal welfare and animal-friendliness in cooperation with contract suppliers, the associated agricultural holdings as well as further stakeholders.
"With this mission statement, we want to send out a clear message and demonstrate our idea of more sustainable and responsible welfare conditions of livestock in the future. We are already actively involved in a broad range of projects with the aim to enable animal-friendly and healthy husbandry free from distress and pain.
The mission statement is the first publication to define a catalogue of values combined with the appeal to all our partners and also ourselves for the pursuit, control and further development of our core values and aims", continues Dr. Mayer.
REWE Group's mission statement is based on the "Five freedoms" of the Farm Animal Welfare Council of the Department of Agriculture in the UK which determine the characteristics of responsible livestock farming, i.e. freedom from hunger, thirst and malnutrition, freedom from discomfort, freedom from fear, distress and sufferings, freedom from pain, injury or disease as well as freedom to express normal behaviour. These freedoms provide a framework for livestock farming systems in terms of animal welfare, animal-friendliness and animal protection.
The complete mission statement can be downloaded from REWE Group’s website at:
The cooperatively organised REWE Group is one of the leading trade and tourism groups in Germany and Europe. In 2014, the company generated a total external turnover of around 51 billion euros. Founded in 1927, REWE Group operates 15,000 stores with 330,000 employees in 12 European countries. In 2014, around 228,000 employees generated turnover totalling 37 billion euros in approximately 10,000 stores in Germany.
The sales lines include REWE, REWE CENTER, REWE CITY and BILLA supermarkets and consumer stores, the discounter PENNY as well toom Baumarkt and B1 Discount Baumarkt DIY stores. There are also the organic supermarkets (TEMMA), innovative convenience stores (REWE To Go), the gastronomic concept "Oh Angie!" and e-commerce activities (REWE online with pickup and delivery service). Travel and tourism under the umbrella of DER Touristik includes the tour operators ITS, Jahn Reisen and Travelix as well as Dertour, Meier's Weltreisen and ADAC Reisen and the business travel division FCm Travel Solutions and more than 2,100 travel agencies (e.g. DER Reisebüro, DERPART), the hotel chains lti hotels, Club Calimera and PrimaSol Hotels and the direct tour operator clevertours.com.