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Riverford scoops awards for farm animal welfare

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: October 05, 2012

Guy Watson, who founded Riverford in 1987, now serves 40,000 customers each week Picture: Steven Haywood

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The Westcountry's best-known organic business has swept the boards at an awards ceremony for its commitment to ensuring animals live a "fairer and happier" life.

Riverford, based near Totnes in South Devon, scooped a host of titles at the Compassion in World Farming's Good Farm Animal Welfare Awards last week.

The organic delivery company's commitment to farm animal welfare was celebrated through the award of the Good Chicken, Good Egg, Good Dairy and Good Pig titles.

Guy Watson, who founded Riverford in 1987, said he was "delighted" with the achievement of the business which now serves 40,000 customers each week.

He said: "These awards are testament to Riverford's commitment to maintaining the highest possible standards of animal welfare, both on our own farms and with our network of partners.

"The alternative pursuit of cheap produce comes at a high cost to the animal and the environment. Our customers can rest assured that our animals live a fairer and happier life and taste all the better for it."

The awards were hosted by top cook, food writer and broadcaster Valentine Warner at the Honourable Artillery Company in London. Now in their sixth year, they recognise and reward food companies that are committed to implementing substantial policy changes resulting in positive impacts for farm animals.

Riverford's chickens and pigs roam through fields rich in grass and clover. Its cows spend three quarters of the year in fields eating grass, and over winter they get out-graded vegetables from the box scheme as part of their diets. They are allowed to produce milk naturally, without methods which pressure them for more.

CWF director Steve McIvor said: "The awards are a vital tool that allows us to engage and converse with food companies under the banner of recognition and celebration which is very successful in helping us forge strong relationships. We would like to congratulate all of our winners for the huge difference they are making to the lives of thousands of farm animals. We need more businesses to follow their excellent example and keep the momentum going across the industry."

Riverford has won a string of other ethical food awards. Last year it was named Best Independent Retailer in the RSPCA Good Business Awards.

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