Walmart Supports Animal Welfare…And The Food Supply

The Lempert Report
June 15, 2015

Walmart has taken a strong stance on animal welfare, what is it and will they be able to enforce it

Giant retailer, Walmart, recently announced that it would ask all suppliers of fresh and frozen meat, deli, dairy and egg products to its US based Walmart and Sam's Club stores to adhere to their new guidelines for the humane treatment of farm animals and the reduction of antibiotic use in raising them. 

This is a big step for such a large company that sells at affordable prices, and it’s a big effort to assure customers that animal products sold at Walmart all comply with strict standards on the humane treatment of animals.  

Walmart has put the livestock industry on notice enlisting guidelines such as; animals should have access to fresh water and a healthy diet, they should have proper shelters and resting areas, and they should have adequate veterinary care including timely diagnosis and treatment of illnesses. 

For poultry farmers, some of this may already be in place. As The New York Times reported, following the avian flu outbreak many producers are already moving to install new types of housing for their animals such as more generous sized hen housing systems. Walmart and Sam’s Club are the first food retailers to ask their suppliers to comply with requirements intended to sustain a healthier food supply.  

This is an important step for retailers, and we applaud Walmart’s efforts. The big question is, will Walmart monitor suppliers to see whether these guidelines are being enforced? Or is this new set of rules going to fall into merely an aspirational goal?   Customers want transparency with the products they buy and Walmart is taking the right steps to get us closer to that. Hopefully suppliers will follow suit.