Animal rights charity grills Tesco CEO in Welwyn Garden City over pigs

PUBLISHED: 16:26 14 June 2019 | UPDATED: 16:26 14 June 2019

World Animal Protection campaigners in Welwyn Garden City. Picture: Charlotte McLaughlin.

World Animal Protection campaigners in Welwyn Garden City. Picture: Charlotte McLaughlin.

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An animal rights charity grilled the CEO of Tesco about its treatment of Thai pigs in Welwyn Garden City yesterday.

The Tesco AGM can not been attended by members of the press. Picture: Charlotte McLaughlin.The Tesco AGM can not been attended by members of the press. Picture: Charlotte McLaughlin.

World Animal Protection - who bought three shares so they could attend Tesco's annual general meeting - asked its CEO Dave Lewis:

"Right now, many thousands of sows on farms in Thailand that supply the Tesco Lotus stores [a Tesco owned company] are cruelly confined in cages no bigger than a fridge freezer, unable to move or behave naturally, a practice which is illegal in the UK.

"In other ways, Tesco has shown itself to be a leader in promoting good practice to protect animals and therefore, on behalf of 30,000+ World Animal Protection supporters and Tesco customers in the UK and Thailand who have demanded this cruelty end, I would ask the board when will Tesco make the commitment to stop sourcing pork from farms that cruelly confine and cage mother pigs?"

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Tesco's CEO Dave Lewis is reported by the animal rights charity to have responded by saying it has done "a lot" on animal rights.

The animal rights groups reports Mr Lewis went on to say Tesco is complying with the Thai government's animal welfare rules. We have asked Tesco to confirm as only those with shares can attend Tesco AGM meetings, where recording is banned.

"Like yourselves we would think there are some international standards that could be higher and we want to work with the government to bring those international standards to that industry," Mr Lewis said.

"We made a commitment for all our [1,600] Express stores that we will source cage free/constraint free pork going forward, but the time scales that are required to change that industry are longer than we would like. But we think by committing to do that in all of our Express stores by 2030 we will start a movement across the industry that will help us up the supply chain."

The Welwyn Hatfield Times asked Tesco to confirm the reported statement, by its CEO, and got this response from a spokesperson:

"All the pork meat sourced by our Thai business is certified by the Thai Government which sets the standards for animal welfare in that country. We are currently working with our suppliers in the region to explore how we can exceed these standards by moving sows out of stalls and into group housing."

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