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Animal Welfare Standards in Aquacultures

Consumers, NGOs and companies are increasingly recognizing that not just land animals but also marine animals are ethically relevant. For several years now, we have been dealing with the topic of welfare standards for fish. At company level, we have been in negotiations on this issue with Kaufland since 2016. Biologist Stefan Johnigk, who is also very well networked in both academia and the industry, has contributed his expertise.

Since 2018, we have had intensive discussions with a lot of major supermarket chains and discounters on how animal welfare standards in aquaculture can be established and raised. This has now resulted in the establishment of an official initiative group with various stakeholders working on this topic.

The Aquaculture Welfare Initiative

In order to explore the possibilities of increasing the level of animal welfare in aquacultures and to make concrete progress, various stakeholders from the retail trade, science, organizations and authorities are regularly exchanging information and discussing their views on these issues. The following companies from the food retail sector are already part of the initiative group: Aldi Nord, Aldi Süd, Aldi International, Edeka Südwest, Kaufland, Lidl, Lidl Stiftung (international) and Rewe.

In order to achieve improvements for different fish species as quickly and as effectively as possible, we use the Stage-Gate Model, which immediately reveals any opportunities and bottlenecks. Our first major topic is the stunning of fish before slaughter, which unfortunately is neither prescribed nor carried out in most countries. The need for action is therefore huge.

The impact of the initiative group will therefore not only be felt in Germany but also internationally. This is why we are inviting further companies from Germany and abroad to participate.

Which companies may join the Aquaculture Welfare Initiative?

In principle, all companies which also aim to raise animal welfare standards in aquaculture by implementing them and/or making their own contributions can join. To do so, they sign a Letter of Intent. Participation is free of charge until further notice (at least until the end of 2021) – the Albert Schweitzer Foundation covers all expenses.

If you are generally interested in joining, please do not hesitate to contact us. Stefan Johnigk and we will then discuss the details with you.