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Walmart Advances New Animal Welfare, Antibiotics Positions

The world's largest retailer and its warehouse club subsidiary have outlined new expectations for suppliers around animal welfare and the responsible use of antibiotics in farm animals.

“Walmart is committed to selling products that sustain people and the environment,” said Kathleen McLaughlin, president of the Walmart Foundation and SVP of sustainability. “We have listened to our customers, and are asking our suppliers to engage in improved reporting standards and transparency measures regarding the treatment of farm animals.”

Highlights of Walmart’s new animal welfare and antibiotics positions include:

  • Humane treatment of farm animals: As part of its animal welfare position statement, Walmart will not tolerate animal abuse, supports the globally recognized Five Freedoms of animal welfare, and is committed to working with supply chain partners to implement practices consistent with the guidelines.
  • Specifically, Walmart is asking suppliers to:
  • Report and take disciplinary and corrective action in cases of animal abuse.
  • Find and implement solutions to address animal welfare concerns in housing systems, painful procedures and euthanasia or slaughter.
  • Promote transparency by providing progress reports to Walmart and publicly reporting against their own corporate animal welfare position on annual basis.

In terms of its responsible use of antibiotics in farm animals, Walmart is asking suppliers to:

  • Adopt and implement the Judicious Use Principles of Antimicrobial Use from the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), including accurate record-keeping, veterinary oversight, and limiting antimicrobial treatment to animals that are ill or at risk.
  • Adopt and implement voluntary guidance for industry #209 from the Food and Drug Administration in their own operations and industry producer programs, including eliminating growth promotion uses of medically important antibiotics.
  • Promote transparency by providing a report on antibiotics management to Walmart and publicly report antibiotic use on an annual basis.

“Our customers want to know more about how their food is grown and raised, and where it comes from," said McLaughlin, noting that as the nation’s largest grocer, "Walmart is committed to using our strengths to drive transparency and improvement across the supply chain. We believe it’s important to promote transparency in this process, helping to put our customers in charge of their food choices by providing clear, accurate information about food ingredients. We appreciate the leadership our suppliers have shown to help us accomplish these goals.”

Visit here for more information on Walmart’s sustainable food positions.

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