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Farmed fish prioritised in animal welfare initiative

Welfare Post-harvest

The Global Coalition for Animal Welfare (GCAW), the world’s first food industry-led initiative aimed at advancing animal - including farmed fish – welfare globally has been launched today.

by Senior editor, The Fish Site
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GCAW members have identified five priority work streams: farmed fish welfare, cage-free policies, improved broiler chicken welfare, antimicrobial resistance and global standards for transportation and slaughter. Working with a group of multi-disciplinary experts from academia, industry and civil society, GCAW aims to publish an agenda for change during 2019.

Founded by seven member companies, The Global Coalition for Animal Welfare (GCAW) represents some of the largest names in global food production and food service: Aramark, Compass Group, Elior Group, IKEA Food Services, Nestlé, Sodexo and Unilever. With combined revenues of €139 billion and serving 3.7 billion customers per day, they have launched the coalition to collectively address systemic barriers to improving animal welfare, accelerate the development of standards and drive progress on key welfare issues.

The coalitions's initial fish-based focus will be on the welfare of farmed salmon: "We know that more fish will be farmed to meet the growing global protein demand and it's one of the world's most widely farmed fish species," a spokesperson for GCAW told The Fish Site.

The platform unites major companies and animal welfare experts in improving animal welfare standards at scale and in meeting consumer demand for food products from animals reared in systems that promote good welfare.

Today, more than 70 billion land animals are farmed for food annually, and, by 2050, livestock production is expected to twice the level it was 2000. GCAW will advance animal welfare through:

  • Providing a platform for food companies to work more closely with farm animal welfare experts to identify common objectives and drive improvements.
  • Prioritising welfare issues and developing roadmaps for industry change while supporting producers in implementing strong animal welfare practices.
  • Advancing animal welfare knowledge globally through industry insights, bespoke research and partnerships for action.


The initiative is still at an early stage but the coalition intends to publish "a roadmap" for how to encourage its members suppliers to improve animal welfare in the course of 2019.

"This will identify priorities and, in order to achieve this, our members are keen to engage with producers to work out what the challenges are and what can realistically be achieved - it's a pragmatic, realistic approach," the GCAW spokesperson continued.