FOUR PAWS investigates chocolate manufacturers for animal welfare efforts

Milk reduction strategies: Mars, Nestlé, Ferrero & Co. fail FOUR PAWS ranking

08-May-2023 - Germany

With its latest food industry ranking, the global animal welfare organization
FOUR PAWS examined some of the world's largest chocolate manufacturers to assess their strategies for reducing cow's milk in terms of high animal welfare standards and mitigating the climate crisis. The results of this chocolate challenge are "choc-a-bloc" to say the least: only two companies (Migros and Coop) are in the "Average "* category, four made it into the "Weak" category (including Mars and Nestlé), while twelve participants such as Ferrero and Alfred Ritter fall into the "Very Weak" category*. While many of the companies have vegan "milk" chocolate in their range, none of the manufacturers have a concrete strategy to reduce cow's milk in their program, despite the fact that cow's milk is known to cause both severe animal welfare violations and negative environmental impacts. FOUR PAWS calls on the industry to implement clear animal ingredient reduction targets and higher animal welfare standards.

Although the majority (eleven out of 18) of the companies in the ranking already offer at least one dairy-free "milk" chocolate, where milk is replaced by plant-based alternatives such as oat milk, nut butter or rice syrup, none of the manufacturers surveyed plan to increase this offering. A look at the respective CSR reports further shows that none of the companies pursue strategies to reduce dairy products or can demonstrate an animal welfare policy that meets FOUR PAWS' minimum requirements.

Sonja Svensek, Head of Nutrition at FOUR PAWS, says: "Dairy products have numerous and serious shortcomings, both from an animal welfare perspective and in terms of our environment and climate crisis. Cows only give milk when they have a calf. This means that the cow is inseminated again just after giving birth. On most dairy farms, the calf is separated from the dam shortly after birth. The vast majority of female calves await the same cruel fate as dairy cows until they are eventually slaughtered. All male calves are first sent to fattening before being transported for days or even weeks all the way overseas for slaughter. Cow's milk also produces two to four times more greenhouse gas emissions than plant-based milk. It's imperative that chocolate manufacturers raise the bar on animal welfare in their products."

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Overproduction of dairy products poses many climate risks

More than 80 percent of the world's agricultural land is used to produce animal products. Continued production growth of animal products comes at the expense of forests and other ecosystems. Land use for cow's milk is more than ten times that for plant milk. Measures must be taken to mitigate the impact on the environment. So-called "farm animals" are responsible for one-sixth of all man-made greenhouse gas emissions, of which milk production accounts for one-third.

Note: This article has been translated using a computer system without human intervention. LUMITOS offers these automatic translations to present a wider range of current news. Since this article has been translated with automatic translation, it is possible that it contains errors in vocabulary, syntax or grammar. The original article in German can be found here.

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