Chipotle Mexican Grill announced that it was the only U.S. company honored at the Compassion in World Farming's Good Farm Animal Welfare Awards. The event celebrated the global momentum that market-leading food companies are generating with higher welfare policies and practices. This year a total of 50 awards recognized policies that would benefit the lives of over 39 million animals each year.
Chipotle was awarded a Good Sow Commendation in Pig Welfare for its commitment to ensuring that sows are free from confinement during both gestation and farrowing. This means gestation crates are never used for pregnant pigs, and farrowing crates are never used for mother pigs. This action is significant since these crates are so small that pigs cannot even turn around, causing them to exhibit abnormal behavior.
"While numerous U.S. producers and companies have acknowledged gestation crates as a serious welfare concern, most have yet to move away from gestation crates entirely, let alone begin to address the use of farrowing crates," says Katya Simkhovich, Food Business manager at Compassion in World Farming USA. "Chipotle Mexican Grill sets itself apart from other companies in setting the standard for a comprehensive and progressive policy avoiding all systems of close confinement throughout a sow's life. By ensuring that sows are never confined in gestation or farrowing crates, and are raised outdoors or in deeply bedded open barns, Chipotle demonstrates a serious and genuine commitment to animal welfare. We look forward to working together to drive more meaningful progress for farm animals in the future."
As demand for improved treatment of pigs, chickens, and other farmed animals continues to grow, companies like Chipotle are putting themselves at the forefront of the movement to meet that demand and build a better food system.
"Chipotle is honored to have received the Good Sow Commendation from Compassion in World Farming. We are dedicated to serving food with integrity and ensuring our real ingredients are responsibly sourced," says Yael Cypers, Animal Welfare manager at Chipotle. "We have been serving humanely raised meat in our restaurants for more than 20 years, and are dedicated to maintaining high animal welfare standards. We look forward to continuing to work with Compassion in World Farming and our supply partners to drive further progress in our collective efforts to Cultivate a Better World."
Across the U.K., Europe, China, and the U.S. there were 11 Good Egg Awards, two Good Chicken Awards, three Good Turkey Awards, three Good Calf Awards, two Good Dairy Commendations, two Good Sow Commendations, and three Good Rabbit Commendations, in addition to 17 producer awards in China. The awards ceremony also included one Rabbit Innovation Award, one Cage-Free award, three Retailer Awards, and two Sustainable Food and Farming Awards.
"While change is being driven by a myriad of stakeholders concerned about the welfare of farm animals and the need to look after our planet, it is the food industry that makes this change a reality," says Dr. Tracey Jones, Compassion in World Farming's director of Food Business. "Addressing the major welfare issues in pig production is challenging at the best of times. It's particularly encouraging therefore to be able to award Chipotle on their commitment for free farrowing and higher welfare pig production. We hope that by sharing experiences, more producers will gain the confidence needed to invest and trial new systems. Our awards are a great way to recognize and congratulate those that are doing their part to better the lives of farm animals. We hope that others will follow in Chipotle's footsteps to help drive change, for the sake of the millions of pigs reared for food each year."