Knowledgebase

Pick a category

Scoring of Animal Welfare


Sustainability and animal welfare are topics that are getting more and more important. At Kiezebrink we think these are important subjects, that is why we want to prodivde insight in our products. To score the products on sustainability and animal welfare several criteria were used to assess these aspects. Welfare has been assess through the living conditions, transport, and killing method. All criteria have been divided into three options, scoring 0, 1 and 2 respectively. The higher a product scores the better. A description of all used criteria can be found below. The criteria that were used for scoring of sustainability can be found here.

Living conditions

Animal welfare is not easy to measure as it relies both on the physical and mental wellbeing of the animal. A well-known tool that is used to assess animal welfare is the 5 freedoms, which are (1) freedom from thirst, hunger and malnutrition, (2) freedom from discomfort and exposure, (3) freedom from pain, injury and disease,  (4) freedom from fear and distress and (5) freedom to express normal behaviour. The living conditions determine an animals direct surroundings and thus the extent to which the five freedoms are applicable. How an animal lives already gives a general overview on its welfare, making this an important criterium.

-          Cattle
2: The animals have at least 6.6m2 per individual, soft bedding, natural lighting and outside access for at least 7 months a year.
1: The animals have at least 5.4m2 per individual, soft bedding, natural lighting and outside access for at least 6 months a year.
0: The living conditions fall short to qualify for option 2 and 1.

 -          Horses
2: The animals have at least 12m2 per individual, natural lighting and outdoor access.
1: The animals have at least 9m2 per individual and natural lighting or outdoor access.
0: The living conditions fall short to qualify for option 2 and 1.

-          Lambs (sheep)
2: The animals have at least 1.8m2 per individual, natural lighting and outdoor access.
1: The animals have at least 1.25m2 per individual and natural lighting or outdoor access.
0: The living conditions fall short to qualify for option 2 and 1.

-          Chickens
2: There is a maximum of 13 animals per m2, natural lighting, some form of enrichment and some outside access.
1: There is a maximum of 12 animals per m2, natural lighting and some form of enrichment.
0: The living conditions fall short to qualify for option 2 and 1.

-          Turkeys
2: There is a maximum of 6.5 animals per m2, natural lighting, some form of enrichment and outside access.
1: There is a maximum of 5 animals per m2, natural lighting and some form of enrichment.
0: The living conditions fall short to qualify for option 2 and 1.

-          Ducks
2: The animals have at least 0.5m2 per individual, natural lighting, access to water and outdoor access.
1: The animals have at least 0.23m2 per individual and natural lighting or outdoor access.
0: The living conditions fall short to qualify for option 2 and 1.

 -          Quails
2: The animals have at least 0.15m2 per individual, natural lighting and outdoor access.
1: The animals have at least 0.1m2 per individual and natural lighting or outdoor access.
0: The living conditions fall short to qualify for option 2 and 1.

-          Pigeons
2: The pigeons have at least 0.4m3 per individual, natural lighting and outdoor access.
1: The pigeons have  at least 0.3m3 per individual and natural lighting or outdoor access.
0: the living conditions fall short to qualify for option 2 and 1.
(wild pigeons get 2 points for this criterium)

-          Guinea fowl & pheasants
2: There is a maximum of 13 animals per m2, natural lighting, some form of enrichment and some outside access.
1: There is a maximum of 12 animals per m2, natural lighting and some form of enrichment.
0: The living conditions fall short to qualify for option 2 and 1.

-          Rabbits
2: there is a maximum of 12.5 animals per m2, access to shelter, roughage and gnawing material. (beter leven quality mark/ park housing)
1: There is a maximum of 16.7 animals per m2 and access to either roughage or gnawing material. (welfare cages)
0: The living conditions fall short to qualify for option 2 and 1. (conventional housing)

 -          Rats
2: The animals have at least 600cm2 per individual and some form of enrichment.
1: The animals have at least 350cm2 per individual or some form of enrichment.
0: The animals have less than 350cm2 per individual and no enrichment.

 -          Mice
2: The animals have at least 100cm2 per individual and some form of enrichment.
1: The animals have at least 75cm2 per individual or some form of enrichment.
0: The animals have less than 75cm2 per individual and no form of enrichment.

 -          Gerbils
2: The animals have at least 250cm2 per individual and some form of enrichment.
1: The animals have at least 150cm2 per individual or some form of enrichment.
0: The animals have less than 150cm2 per individual and no enrichment

 -          Hamsters
2: The animals have at least 250cm2 per individual and some form of enrichment.
1: The animals have at least 200cm2 per individual or some form of enrichment.
0: The animals have less than 200cm2 per individual and no enrichment.

 -          Guinea pigs
2: The animals have at least 900cm2 per individual and some form of enrichment.
1: The animals have at least 500cm2 per individual or some form of enrichment.
0: The animals have less than 500cm2 per individual and no enrichment.

 -          Salmon
2: The fish is farmed extensively.
1: The fish is intensively farmed with densities below 22kg per m3.
0: The fish is intensively farmed with densities over 22kg per m3.

 -          (roe)deer, hares, kangaroos, geese & fish (excluding salmon)
The meat types all originate form wild animals and receive 2 point for this criterium.

Mutilations

Mutilations are procedures as part of a routine husbandry where a part of an animal is damaged or removed. These mutilations can be executed for multiple reasons. Dehorning and debeaking are examples of mutilations that are meant to prevent animals from damaging each other later. Other mutilations, such as mulesing of sheep and tail docking can be done to prevent diseases/infections. Lastly, some mutilations are simply executed because it makes the handling/keeping of animals easier, examples of this are the nose ring in cattle or pinioning in poultry. Since these mutilations are invasive procedures they go paired with pain and stress, intensity depending on the mutilation and the way it is executed. Because of this, it is an important criterium to assess when looking at overall animal welfare.

-          Cattle & sheep
2: No mutilations are executed without anaesthetics.
1: A maximum of two mutilations are executed without anaesthetics.
0: More than two mutilations are executed without anaesthetics.

-          Horses & poultry
2: No mutilations are executed without anaesthetics.
1: A maximum of one mutilation is executed without anaesthetics.
0: Two or more mutilations are executed without anaesthetics.

Transport

Due to economic benefits the distances for livestock transport have been increasing albeit longer journeys have been shown to be worse for animal welfare than short journeys. When animals are being transported they are being exposed to various stressful stimuli, such as increased human handling and contact, unfamiliar environments, changes in climatic conditions and food and water deprivation. Because transport has been shown to be one of the most stressful events for animals and also the most injurious event is an important criterium when looking to assess overall animal welfare.

2: The transport time to the slaughterhouse is less than 4 hours.
1: The transport time to the slaughterhouse is between 4 – 12 hours.
0: The transport time to the slaughterhouse is over 12 hours.
(no transport of live animals = 2 points)

Method of killing

Slaughter usually happens in two different stages; first the animals are stunned and afterwards the animals are actually slaughtered/killed. Stunning is performed in order for the animal to lose consciousness first after which they are slaughtered before this is regained. The exception here is religious slaughter where animals are slaughtered without stunning due to religious beliefs. The way an animal is slaughtered differs per species but also between countries and even between plants. Different methods go paired with varying amounts of stress and pain and thus affect animal welfare. Main differences between methods are usually the amount of pain that is induced and how long it takes for an animal to lose consciousness. The used method largely determines the animals wellbeing at the time of killing, making it an important criterium for animal welfare.

-          Cattle
2: The animal is slaughtered after being stunned with a bolt gun.
1: The animal is slaughtered after electrical stunning.
0: The animal is slaughtered without any prior stunning.

 -          Horses
2: The animal is slaughtered after being rendered unconscious with a firearm.
1: The animal is slaughtered after being rendered unconscious with a bolt gun.
0: The animal is slaughtered without any prior stunning.

 -          Lambs (sheep)
2: The animal is slaughtered after electrical stunning.
1: The animal is slaughtered after being stunned with a bolt gun.
0: The animal is slaughtered without prior stunning.

 -          Poultry (meat)
2: The animals are being slaughtered after being electrically stunned individually or gassed with an argon or nitrogen mixture.
1: the animals are being slaughtered after being electrically stunned in a waterbath or gassed with co2.
0: The animals are being slaughtered without prior stunning. 

-          Poultry (whole prey)
2: The animal is gassed with a nitrogen or argon mixture or is electrically stunned prior to being killed.
1: The animal is firstly gassed with low co2 concentrations (<40%) before being killed with higher concentrations.
0: The animal is directly gassed with high co2 concentrations (>40%). 

-          Rabbits (meat)
2: The animal is slaughtered after being stunned electrically, with a captive bolt or gassed with an aversion reducing mixture (argon or nitrogen).
1: The animal is slaughtered after being stunned by BFT, cervical dislocation or gassing with solely co2 or co.
0: The animal is slaughtered without any prior stunning.  

-          Rabbits (whole prey)
2: The animal is killed after electrical stunning.
1: The animal is gassed with an argon or nitrogen mixture.
0: The animal is gassed with solely co2 or co.

-          Rodents
2: The animal is gassed with a nitrogen or argon mixture.
1: The animal is firstly gassed with low co2 concentrations (<40%) before being killed with higher concentrations.
0: The animal is gassed with high co2 concentrations (>40%) without previous stunning with a lower, less aversive concentration.

 -          Neonates (rodent & rabbit, excluding guinea pigs)
2: The animal has been killed by inducing hypothermia while avoiding direct contact of the skin with precooled surfaces.
1: The animal has been killed by inducing hypothermia without avoiding direct contact of the skin with precooled surfaces.
0: The animal has been killed with a gassing method.

 -          Deer & hares

2: The animal has been hunted with a rifle (or other firearm).
1: The animal has been caught with traps.
0: The animal has been hunted with dogs.

 -          Kangaroos
All kangaroos are shot according to the Australian legislation and receive 2 points for this criterium.

 -          Fish
2: The fish is electrically or percussively stunned or is spiked.
1: The fish is asphyxiated, chilled or rendered unconscious through co2 narcosis.
0: The fish is eviscerated without any prior stunning. 

Copyright 2019 Kiezebrink Focus on Food | Realisatie door Census