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General Policies Applicable to All Species

As part of our Sourcing Policy, there are several welfare standards that apply to all proteins, including beef, pork, lamb, chicken, turkey, duck and fish.

These are as follows;

Genetically Modified and Cloned Animals

  • In accordance with Mitchells & Butlers Technical Policy on genetically modified organisms, it is Mitchells & Butlers policy not to purchase any red meat, poultry or fish products that contain genetically modified organisms, or to procure meat, poultry, or fish from genetically modified animals
  • Mitchells & Butlers prohibit the use of genetically engineered or cloned animals in the supply of products to our business and do not sell products made from cloned animals. This includes all proteins procured by Mitchells & Butlers ALEX sites, as operate in Germany.

Growth Promoters

  • The use of growth promoters is not permitted in the production of livestock used to produce meat and poultry for Mitchells & Butlers. This includes the use of any antibiotic growth promoters, or hormone growth promoters.
    This Policy includes all proteins procured by Mitchells & Butlers ALEX sites, as operate in Germany.

Slaughter Policy

Mitchells & Butlers require consideration of the welfare of livestock throughout the lifetime of the animal, including the whole process of slaughter. This includes the handling of livestock through loading for slaughter, transport to the abattoir, arrival at the abattoir and unloading, the movement of the animal through the lairage and handling, through to the application of slaughter method.

Mitchells & Butlers recognise a slaughter method is only humane if the animal dies without pain or distress and therefore require all animals in our supply chain, regardless of origin, to be effectively stunned prior to slaughter. The process of stunning must render the animal insensible and unable to experience pain or stress. The process of stunning should either ensure that an animal cannot regain consciousness, or is quickly followed by a second process that kills the animal before it can recover consciousness.

  • Abattoirs managed / used by suppliers to Mitchells & Butlers, are required to comply with Council Regulation (EC) No. 1099/2009 on the protection of animals at the time of killing and any provisions made under this Regulation - including WATOK (England) Regulations 2015 - as apply within each European Union country. This Regulation also applies for exporters of meat into the EU from non-EU countries.
  • Mitchells & Butlers require abattoirs to effectively manage and monitor their systems, including following standard operating procedures (SOPs) to ensure a standardised slaughter process and to hold detailed contingency plans for breakdowns on the line and other emergencies, including appropriate procedures for dealing with casualty animals.

    This includes procedures for the following actions;
    • unloading animals
    • keeping animals in holding pens and fields (lairage)
    • moving and handling animals
    • restraining animals
    • stunning and killing animals
    • monitoring the stunning of animals
    • religious slaughter (pre stun)
    • animal welfare officer (AWO) role and responsibilities
  • Animal handling and stunning equipment must be maintained to a high standard and equipment tested regularly to ensure effective working order, with records kept to substantiate that maintenance checks are in place.
  • In the instance of equipment failing, there must be back-up stunning equipment immediately accessible at the point of stunning and slaughter.

    Records must be maintained to monitor how many secondary stuns are occurring, These records should include;
    • Date / time of stun (am/pm)
    • The reason for failure (e.g. misfire / skull too thick / gun failure / electricity failure / probe failure)
    • Reporting of gun or probe failure
    • Action taken to rectify the issue
    • Operator reporting the issues
  • The time interval between stunning and bleeding (the "stun-to-stick interval") should always be kept as short as possible to minimise the risk of animals recovering consciousness before death occurs. The maximum stun-to-stick time for cattle is 60 seconds and for all other species is 15 seconds

    Records should be made available to show that "stun-to-stick" times have been checked on a weekly basis.

    These records should include;
    • ID number of animal (ear tag / kill number)
    • Species of animal
    • Time in seconds from stun to stick
    • Repeat stun required
    • Reason for repeat stun
    • Clean cuts
  • All staff involved in the slaughter process should have effective and necessary training for them to undertake their role, with Codes of Conduct in place where required and available for checking upon request.

    Ideally this should include a designated member(s) of staff to be in the abattoir who is responsible for animal welfare, ensuring SOPs are followed, guaranteeing that remedial action is taken in the instance of non-compliance, reporting on non-compliance and monitoring operations.
  • Mitchells & Butlers are working with their suppliers to ensure supplying abattoirs further improve the effective measurement and proactive management of welfare outcomes at slaughter. This includes working with our suppliers to agree suitable welfare outcomes, to collate data regarding the welfare of animals on arrival at the abattoir and through the lairage, the effectiveness of pre slaughter stunning and the measurement of the proportion of animals that require a second stun.
  • With regards to farmed finfish, the current status on pre slaughter stunning is detailed below;
    • Fresh Trout 100% Pre slaughter stunned
    • Fresh River Cobbler 100% Pre slaughter stunned (From July 2019)
    • Fresh Atlantic Salmon 100% Pre slaughter stunned
    • Fresh Seabass 25% Pre slaughter stunned

By working closely with our suppliers, we aim to increase the number of farmed finfish stunned prior to slaughter, from all countries of origin.

Transport Policy

Mitchells & Butlers are committed to ensuring the welfare of animals during transportation at all times. By working with our suppliers, we are committed to minimising live transportation times and to achieving a maximum journey time of 8 hours, ensuring that long distant transport is avoided.

Mitchells & Butlers required journey times are defined in further detail within each of the specie specific policy statements.

We require that;

  • Animals deemed too sick or injured to travel are culled by qualified personnel, prior to leaving farm
  • Drivers must be adequately trained
  • All vehicles used to transport animals between farms and/or from farm to slaughter are fit for purpose and well maintained, including the use of non-slip floors and well-maintained loading ramps
  • During loading, unloading and handling, sympathetic handling will be adopted at all times. There will be no use of electric goads to move animals
  • Vehicles will not be over-crowded and animals will be transported in conditions guaranteed not to cause injury or unnecessary suffering
  • The journey time for all animals being transported does not exceed 8 hours. We are working with our suppliers to improve on this across all sources.
    • Broiler chickens – the time from first the bird loaded to the last bird slaughtered does not exceed 8 hours.
    • Turkey – the time from the first bird loaded to the last bird slaughtered will not exceed 10 hours. By 2022, we aim to reduce transport time to not exceed 8 hours.
    • Ducks – the time from the first bird loaded to the last bird slaughtered does not exceed 4 hours.
    • Beef Cattle – the maximum journey time from the first animal loaded to the last animal unloaded does not exceed 8 hours. With regards to Mitchells & Butlers ALEX sites, live transportation times for cattle are in line with European legislation and do not exceed 8 hours. Mitchells & Butlers are working with suppliers in specific geographic regions to work towards a satisfactory outcome, where the 8-hour requirement may currently be a challenge to achieve.
    • Dairy Cattle – the maximum journey time does not exceed 8 hours
    • Sheep – the maximum journey time does not exceed 8 hours.
    • Pigs – the maximum time from the first animal loaded to the last animal unloaded does not exceed 8 hours.
    • Farmed Fish – we are currently reviewing live transports time with all suppliers to identify transportation times throughout the supply chain. Our Policy will be published in late 2019.

Antibiotic Usage

Mitchells & Butlers recognise that farmers have a responsibility for the health and welfare of the animals on their farm. This is a joint responsibility with their veterinary surgeon, to ensure the correct and appropriate use of antimicrobials, including antibiotics, to maintain animal health.

We also recognise that farmers and stock-keepers can play a major role in ensuring the responsible use of antibiotics and other antimicrobials on farms by following appropriate guidelines, such as those included in most farm assurance schemes and also by following guidelines set out by the Responsible Use of Medicines in Agriculture alliance (RUMA). In alignment with the principles set out by RUMA, Mitchells & Butlers require supplying farmers and producers to only administer antibiotics under professional veterinary supervision and guidance.

By encouraging the adoption of enhanced levels of biosecurity and animal husbandry to reduce risk of disease challenges, Mitchells & Butlers prohibit the routine prophylactic use of antibiotics.

This policy includes all proteins procured by Mitchells & Butlers ALEX sites, as operate in Germany.

Where appropriate, Mitchells & Butlers actively encourage producers to assess alternative options to antibiotics, such as the use of probiotics.

Further information on the responsible use of medicines in agriculture can be found here http://www.ruma.org.uk/

Close Confinement

Mitchells & Butlers believe that livestock should be free from any close confinement that restricts an animal from displaying normal behaviour and from having sufficient space to move. We are working with all our suppliers towards achieving this goal. This includes addressing specific practices in global livestock production and fish farming as detailed below. Some of these procedures have already been removed from our husbandry practices, whilst others are under review.

  • The use of sow stalls and farrowing crates in pig production
  • The use of concentrated animal feeding operations and feedlots
  • The use of battery cages for laying hens.
    Mitchells & Butlers only procure free range shell on eggs and have increased the volume of free range prepared eggs products procured annually. We are working towards achieving the procurement of all egg ingredients from eggs produced by free range hens by the end of 2025
  • High stocking densities for finfish and close confinement of solitary finfish species

We are in the process of defining targets to avoid the close confinement of livestock reared to supply Mitchells & Butlers and further information on our current standards are detailed in the specie specific Welfare Statements.

Mitchells & Butlers also promote the practice of environmental enrichment, where relevant, to provide suitable enrichment for laying hens, broilers, turkeys and ducks. For example, 100% of our British chickens have access to bales and perches.

Routine Mutilations

Mitchells & Butlers believe that where possible, livestock should be free from mutilation and are working with all our suppliers towards achieving this goal. This includes addressing specific practices in global livestock production and fish farming as detailed below. Some of these procedures have already been removed from our husbandry practices, whilst others are under review.

  • Tail docking and teeth clipping in pigs
  • Tail docking in Dairy Cattle – at least 60% of dairy cows used in production of dairy products are free from routine tail docking. Data may be found here
  • Beak trimming in laying hens, broiler chickens and turkeys, unless to eliminate feather pecking
    None of our British chickens are subjected to routine surgical interventions, which includes beak trimming
  • Disbudding in dairy calves
  • Castration of male cattle for beef production, as necessary
  • The practice of fin clipping in farmed fish
    As part of Mitchells & Butlers Seafood Welfare and Sustainability Policy, no farmed fish supplied to Mitchells & Butlers are subject to fin clipping, nor are any eggs subject to heat treatment to induce triploidy.

Further information on our current standards relating to mutilations are detailed in the specie specific Welfare Statements

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