Rabobank intensifies dialogue on sustainable livestock farming

"Another reason to engage in a dialogue on this subject." This was Rabobank's response on the conclusion made by the Dutch organisation, Stichting Wakker Dier, in their report regarding the way American meat producers deal with animal welfare.

According to the Dutch organisation, three of the US meat producers, financed by Rabobank in the period of 2010 - 2015, are guilty of serious violation against animals. Wakker Dier unjustly claimed that the bank did not place any minimum requirements regarding proper stabling system or animal treatment.

Grave violation

Rabobank views the incidents described by Wakker Dier as shocking and a grove violation of the bank's guidelines. The bank points out that the companies concerned use a zero tolerance policy as it pertains to animal welfare. They have acted vigorously on the incidents and taken measures, which vary from termination of employment to termination of the supplier contract. Animal welfare is an integral part of the bank’s dialogue with customers in the food industry.

Feed, water and transportation

"With regard to livestock farming, Rabobank expects companies to comply with the good practice guidelines of the International Finance Corporation (IFC). This implies use of a proper stabling system, adequate access to feed and water, preventing discomfort and pain for animals and minimising injuries, a preventive health care programme and avoiding unnecessary lengthy or long-distance transport."

Meaningful steps

The bank notes that – partly as a result of this dialogue – the companies mentioned are taking meaningful steps on voluntary basis to improve animal welfare. In the United States, they are frontrunners on animal welfare improvement. One of the companies have banned a stabling system that they deemed to be unfit for the animals, although it was legally approved. They have replace that system with a better stabling system.

Guidelines

In the United States, animal welfare requirements are well in place and also guidelines for specific sectors, such as the guidelines of the American Meat Institute and the guidelines of the National Chicken Council (NCC). "In the dialogue with our clients, we encourage companies to do more than minimum requirements," Rabobank states.

Rabobank's role

Rabobank plays a leading role in the food and agri sector, both in the Netherlands and worldwide. In this way we contribute to the realisation of worldwide food security. In the United States , through its role as a board member of the Centre for Food Integrity, the bank actively promotes the creation of a sustainable food chain, including the promotion of animal welfare.