Animal health and welfare

Animal health and welfare throughout the value chain is of key importance to our customers, consumers and other stakeholders.

The basic requirement for a responsibly managed meat chain is animal health and welfare. Good animal welfare means less stress on livestock and need for medication, and thereby reduces the morbidity of the animals. We prioritize the promotion of animal welfare in animal breeding, rearing conditions and transportation, for example.

Animal health and welfare throughout the entire chain, starting from genetics and breeding to rearing on farms, transportation and slaughtering, are monitored and guided by HKScan or its partners. HKScan follows the latest research and regulations, and adheres to best practices in animal production, as well as advises producers in these matters. We conduct our own auditing and supervision in slaughterhouses, and our operations are subject to continuous surveillance by local authorities and inspections required by national and EU-level legislation. In late 2015, we initiated cooperation with an animal behaviour and handling specialist in order to further improve animal welfare in our cattle slaughterhouses. In 2016, we will expand the cooperation to cover our pig, poultry and lamb slauhgterhouses. Read more on our website.

Watch the video about Majs Plus chicken production in Denmark (in Danish):

We have improved processes in our slaughterhouses in Finland by investments in beef slaughterhouse processes in Outokumpu and in cattle slaughterhouse processes in Paimion Teurastamo Oy. Additionally, we invested in a new lamb slaughter line in Linköping, Sweden

We are proud of the good status we have at HKScan regarding the low amount of animal diseases in contract production and in our own primary production. Nevertheless, good animal care and control of animal diseases is part of everyday work in preventing all outbreaks. The farming areas for livestock are to be clean. Cleanliness is an important factor in preventing the spread of animal diseases. In addition, the animals are provided with sufficient space to move around and eat. This is in connection with the low need for animal medication.

In HKScan countries of operation the use of antimicrobials in the treatment of animals is significantly less than the European average. Antibiotics are used only for needs diagnosed by veterinarian and the use is being carefully monitored. The use of hormones as growth promoters is not allowed.

We proactively assess the situation regarding a range of animal diseases and their possible effects on the supply chain. Increased globalization of business increases also risks of diseases, which makes the work done by our producers, production advisors and veterinarians all the more important. The quality and hygiene practices used in HKScan countries of operation have proven to be very successful, for example in the prevention of salmonella.

In 2015, prevention of the spread of African swine fever has been one of the main measures taken at HKScan farms in the Baltics. Also other HKScan countries have worked diligently to prevent the disease from spreading.