Humane animal husbandry throughout the product range

Our sourcing guidelines define the minimum requirements for animal welfare. These also apply to foreign producers – from livestock housing to the feeding of the animals, to transportation and slaughter.

The Animal Protection Act and Animal Protection Ordinance govern the husbandry of livestock in Switzerland. The following provisions, among others, apply:

    • Husbandry and feeding: Sufficiently large housing and adequate access to outdoor areas throughout the year. For example, cattle may not be deprived of outdoor access for more than two weeks continuously.
      Access to the feeding troughs with the least possible stress and humane feed. Calves must be provided with roughage and adequate water.
      Tethering of sows (farrowing crates) and hard fully slatted flooring in the lying area of cows are forbidden, as are performance-enhancing antibiotics.
    • Transportation and slaughter: Maximum driving time of six hours for live animals (max. transport time of eight hours). All vertebrates must be anaesthetized before they are killed.
    • Interventions: The castration without analgesia has been banned since 2008. Beak trimming and the clipping of wings in poultry and the docking of cattle and pig tails are forbidden. Likewise, the clipping of piglets’ teeth is forbidden. De-horning without anaesthesia is forbidden.

Guidelines for sustainable procurement

Our guidelines for sustainable procurement prescribe the minimum requirements for animal welfare across the entire third-party branded item and own-label brand range. We thus prefer foreign suppliers whose animal husbandry standards are closest to Swiss standards. We refuse to sell products produced using cruel animal husbandry methods, such as duck and goose foie gras or frogs’ legs. You will not find eggs from caged hens on our shelves, and we guarantee for our own-label brands that the eggs in processed products have not been laid by caged hens. With the exception of lambskin and cowhide products we do not sell any articles made from real fur. We ban the mulesing procedure (removal of the skin around sheeps' tails) and live plucking for down products. Moreover we ban the use of reptile skins and materials from endangered animal species in our products.

Animal welfare standards abroad

It is important to us that our foreign suppliers keep their animals under conditions similar to those in Switzerland. In 2013, we thus expanded our successful cooperation with Swiss Animal Protection (SAP). SAP now also inspects the practices of our foreign suppliers on our behalf. For poultry we have even taken things a step further and are in the process of establishing animal husbandry methods with our foreign poultry suppliers which meet the requirements of the Swiss federal animal husbandry programme PAS for particularly animal-friendly conditions in sheds and pens and which offer elevated perches, more space in the sheds, litter on the floors and access to a winter garden. All of our Coop own label brand fresh turkey meat (excl. Prix Garantie) from Switzerland and abroad has been PAS-certified since February 2016. All standard imported fresh chicken meat (excl. Prix Garantie) comes from farms that produce in accordance with regulations that comply with the Swiss Animal Protection Act. Other producers are changing their production over to ensure that the entire special-offer quantity can be met in the course of 2016. Since May 2014, we have also been offering Spanish horse meat that meets high animal welfare standards.

Animal feed and medication

Over 90 per cent of the soya fed to our animals is sourced from sustainable production. With Coop, all animal products are free from genetic engineering and synthetic additives. We regularly apply molecular-biological tests to test the animal feed and the end product. The preventative use of antibiotics is also prohibited, and we are currently engaged in various projects through which we are trying to reduce the medicinal use of antibiotics.

Animal transport

Animal transport in Switzerland is carried out by trained specialists. The animals’ identity and health status, and the travel time must be stated on the accompanying document. In addition to official inspections, the Coop label programmes Naturaplan and Naturafarm also undergo regular and unannounced transport inspections by Swiss Animal Protection (SAP). A maximum travel time of six hours also applies to transport within our import programmes with higher animal welfare standards, as in Switzerland.

    • No harrying: animals may not be driven by force.
    • Loading density: Each animal must have sufficient space. There should be separate compartments for animals from different farms. For example, pigs weighing between 90 and 110 kilograms must have at least 0.43 square metres available to them per animal. 
    • Loading ramp and side walls: the ramp must not be too steep and the side walls must be sufficiently high to prevent injury during transportation.
    • Duration of transportation: maximum of six hours of driving time.
    • Livestock transporters: for reasons of hygiene, livestock may only be transported using specially designed lorries.


We source the majority of our fresh Swiss meat from Bell AG abattoirs, which, in addition to the standard legal inspections, are also audited or monitored by Swiss Animal Protection (SAP). All meat bearing the Naturafarm and Naturaplan labels is sourced exclusively from these abattoirs. An official veterinarian must be present in every Swiss abattoir to check the animals as they arrive and monitor them during slaughter. When livestock arrives at the abattoir, the identity of the animals is verified, their condition is assessed and any animal welfare concerns are addressed. Imported poultry produced in programmes in accordance with the requirements of the Swiss Animal Protection Act come from abattoirs which are inspected regularly by Swiss Animal Protection (SAP) as well as by state inspectors.
All meat used at Coop comes from animals anaesthetized prior to being killed. The only exception – in line with the Swiss Animal Protection Act – applies to wild animals such as fallow deer or bison. Wild animals that are killed in the field rather than in an abattoir are killed by trained persons using a shot that results in immediate death.


We can only ensure our livestock is reared in an animal-friendly, humane way if our sales staff and managers are fully aware of the importance of animal welfare. We differentiate between the basic knowledge required by all employees (acquired in the course of introductory training days, for example) and specialist expertise. Legal requirements and the Naturafarm and Naturaplan standards for animal husbandry are at the heart of our training programme. Field reports from farmers and farm tours provide additional insight into farming practices, highlighting clear differences in the conditions provided by different animal husbandry methods. External partners such as the organization “Mutterkuh Schweiz” also run events providing information on current issues in animal welfare.

Transportation of pigs
Transportation of pigs
Sustainably produced soya
Sustainably produced soya

Principles and topics