Red Tractor

Red Tractor

Pretty much bare minimum legal requirements. A poorly regulated scheme paid for by the food producers.










Label Mouse says:

There is very little difference between the Red Tractor standards and the legal minimum UK requirements.

You can basically ignore when it comes to animal welfare standards. It just means that the animal lived in the UK and was treated in line with minimum legal requirements. It's funded by the British farming and food industry so it has an awkward self-interest in selling more stuff rather than improving welfare.

The label allows for intensive production and is not a ‘guarantee’ of good animal welfare.

Breeding sows can be confined in metal cages for up to five weeks during each pregnancy cycle and piglets can be kept permanently indoors, often on bare concrete or slatted floors.

Pigs may suffer from inadequate environmental enrichment, antibiotics overuse, routinely tails and cut off and teeth maybe clipped without anaesthetic.

The minimum UK requirement for chickens is 39kg per square-metre, which means each chicken has about the space of an A4 sheet of paper to live in. The Red Tractor allows chickens to be stoked up to 38kg per square-metre. Only 1kg less.

To muddy the waters even more, there's a sub-label called 'Red Tractor Enhanced Welfare' that has slightly better animal standards, but still not even up to the RSPCA Assured levels.

As a final nail, Red Tractor is not strongly enforced either with numerous violations [see citations] of their standards not being punished. Figures on their own site state that over a 1000 members are suspended every quarter for violations...

They promise:

The Red Tractor programme comprises a number of farm assurance schemes for food products, animal feed and fertilizer.

Food has been produced in Britain to certain quality standards for food safety, hygiene, and the environment, and reflects standard industry practice in the UK. They say the logo guarantees the food is "responsibly sourced, safely produced and comes from crops and animals that have been well cared for".

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What is Label Mouse?

There are a lot of food labels out there, but its pretty unclear what they mean.

With the UK leaving the EU we're able to define our own regulations on how our food is produced, the impact on the environment and how the animals involved are cared for. This could be a good or a bad thing. The extra player in the mix is that brands are introducing their own schemes which can appear more eco-friendly than they actually are.

Label Mouse does the research to help you make more informed buying choices. Hope it's useful.
Suggestions and support welcome!