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Eurogroup for Animals endorses FARMS Initiative

15 February 2021

Experts from Eurogroup for Animals, a Europe-wide advocacy organization, were among those helping develop the FARMS, particularly their species-specific requirements. Beef and dairy cattle, broiler chickens, laying hens, and pigs are covered by the standards. Eurogroup for Animals believes the RMS could improve welfare for billions of animals globally.

The aim of the FARMS Initiative’s is to persuade financial institutions to encourage meat, milk, and egg producers, and other companies in the supply chain, to meet the RMS with respect to how farmed animals are raised, transported, and slaughtered – and to support them in doing so.

The Initiative seeks to achieve realistic but impactful improvements in the way financial institutions manage the risks and opportunities related to farmed animal welfare. Financial institutions have a number of mechanisms by which they can influence the companies they finance, invest in, or insure, including engaging with businesses on specific issues, or creating and enforcing internal or external policies.

Eurogroup for animals logo on a white background

When producers improve their practices – including the infrastructure and equipment used to house, transport, and slaughter animals, but also with respect to how their staff interact with animals – there are tremendous benefits for the animals and advantages for the environment, public health, and the people who work with the animals. The global movement to improve farmed animal welfare reflects a moral obligation to treat other sentient beings with care and respect, and shows the rising expectations consumers have about the animal-sourced foods they consume.

The FARMS Initiative recommends that banks no longer finance new construction of housing systems, infrastructure, or equipment that does not meet the RMS. In particular, systems of confinement such as cage housing for laying hens and gestation crates for sows should not be financed. These housing systems can be expensive and have a working life of 15 to 25 years, if not more, and so have the potential to become stranded assets, based on the clear trend away from cages and crates resulting from welfare concerns. The FARMS Initiative also recommends that banks encourage producers who are not currently using systems, infrastructure, or equipment that meets the RMS to create a time-bound plan for transitioning towards doing so, including by providing attractive financing.

The FARMS Initiative encourages investors and insurers to use the RMS in conjunction with the OECD-FAO Guidance on Responsible Agricultural Supply Chains and the OECD Responsible Business Conduct for Institutional Investors.

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