The awards celebrate businesses from across the world committed to improving animal welfare standards in their supply chains.
The ceremony opened with a video from chef Jamie Oliver, who said: “I think what today is about is thanking people, individuals, departments, teams, brands, businesses, for going the extra mile and caring.
“Doing what we do and getting more people to do what we do is so important. ‘Good’ and ‘brilliant’ is a moving target and we should all be prepared to keep going.”
Singer and animal welfare advocate Blanche Elliz said: “Every human being has a responsibility towards the wellbeing of all living creatures, as far as it lies in our power. I feel privileged from the heart that I can contribute to a very good cause, by being able to host the 2016 Good Farm Animal Welfare Awards.”
Coop Switzerland has been working with Kani-Swiss to implement a group housing system for rabbits, as an alternative to caged production, the most common system adopted for rabbits globally.
Tracey Jones, director of food business at Compassion, said: “The groundbreaking investment in higher welfare systems and practices for pigs in Italy, rabbits in Switzerland and Germany, and quail in the UK is outstanding, demonstrating that better systems for farm animals can be developed and supported by the market place.
“To my mind these awards demonstrate that a real step change in attitudes and approach towards farm animal welfare is taking place.”
Compassion in World Farming, the UK charity that grants the awards, estimates that more than 2.9 million does and meat rabbits are set to benefit each year as a result of the Good Rabbit Awards winners’ policies. According to the charity, globally around 1.2 billion rabbits are slaughtered annually for meat.
Co-ops have traditionally been well represented at the awards, which in the past have featured Coop Denmark’s Irma supermarkets, Coop Eg from Germany, Coop Sweden, Biocoop from France, the UK’s Co-operative Group, Coop Italia and Waitrose (part of the employee-owned John Lewis Partnership).