Animal-friendly range thanks to Naturaplan, Naturafarm and Natura-Beef
Under our own label Naturaplan brand, we have been selling environmentally and animal-friendly organic foods at affordable prices for 24 years. We laid the foundation for the Naturafarm animal husbandry programmes way back in the 1980s and 1990s. Today, 40 percent of our fresh meat range already comes from these label programmes. Another almost 20 percent comes from animal-friendly PAS husbandry.
Naturafarm: Animals have access to range
The Naturafarm quality seal guarantees high quality Swiss meat and eggs from animal-friendly access-to-range or free-range farming. Animals on a Naturafarm farm have lots of space, can move about freely, and always have access to range. In the housing, there are separate areas where they can eat, play and sleep. The floor of the housing is covered with plenty of straw.
Strict requirements apply to our Naturafarm quality seal:
- Rearing, fattening, slaughtering and processing take place in Switzerland
- Companies producing for Naturafarm must participate in the Federal animal husbandry programmes PAS (particularly animal-friendly stabling) and ROEL (regular outdoor exercise for livestock). This means that calves and pigs have access to an exercise yard. Cattle, laying hens and chickens can roam in fields.
- The companies must satisfy the requirements for ecological certification (ÖLN) as required by Federal Ordinance.
- The feeds are guaranteed not to have been genetically modified and correspond to the Coop Animal Feed Guideline.
- There is end-to-end quality monitoring with full traceability.
- Only Naturafarm meat and eggs are used in processed products (charcuterie). All other ingredients originate from Swiss production wherever possible.
Keeping inquisitive pigs occupied
Pigs are intelligent, inquisitive and need a lot of stimulation. In a Naturafarm barn, they have a variety of play opportunities both indoors and out. Naturafarm pigs are fed healthy food such as grains. Genetically modified raw materials and animal meal are prohibited.
Calves live in groups
Naturafarm calves with access to range are given feed that is adapted to their requirements. These include full-cream milk and dairy by-products occurring during cheese production, as well as fresh hay and water. The fresh hay provides them with a lot of important iron, which gives the meat its healthy, pink colouring.
Both laying hens and chickens have access to a field at Naturafarm sites. The barns are spacious and provide particularly animal-friendly living conditions, so that the animals can always satisfy their urge for physical activity. Naturafarm chickens live on the farm for twice as long as conventionally reared hens. If the field has to be shut off due to snow or adverse weather conditions, the animals have access to a covered outdoor area. This is laid with straw, enabling them to scratch for grains and take dust baths.
Inspections by SAP
The Naturafarm guidelines are more stringent than the Swiss Animal Protection Act and Naturafarm farms undergo regular, unannounced inspections by Swiss Animal Protection (SAP).
Naturaplan: Organic from barn to plate
Along with Demeter, Naturaplan has the most stringent requirements of all organic brands in Switzerland – and that includes animal protection. A few examples:
- The entire farm is organically run, not just individual branches of the operation.
- The animals live in small herds and have outdoor exercise, even in winter.
- As well as grass and hay, the animals' diet also includes organically-grown grains, for example.
- They are robust breeds that are particularly resilient and healthy.
- The preventive use of antibiotics, which is common in conventional husbandry, is prohibited.
- The farmers do not use synthetic chemical agents such as crop protection agents and artificial fertilizers.
Inspected by independent bodies
Independent, state-accredited institutions inspect the organic farms that supply us at least once a year. The processing facilities and suppliers are also audited annually, to ensure that the organic label is genuine.
Natura Beef and Veal: in the meadow with their mothers
We have been selling meat from animals reared using suckler cow husbandry, as it is known, since as early as 1978. As the name suggests, these cattle and veal grow up with their mothers – just as nature intended, making suckler cow husbandry the most natural form of cattle-rearing. The meat from these animals is available from us under the Natura-Beef and Natura-Veal brands, with the Naturafarm quality seal.
Natural feed and plenty of exercise
Calves from suckler cow husbandry stay with their mothers for five months, during which time they suckle at the udder. The cattle live with their mothers for ten months. As well as the mother's milk, the calves and cattle from suckler cow husbandry are fed fresh grass and hay. This provides the best nutrition, as it ensures that they naturally consume lots of key minerals. The animals can go outside whenever they wish, either to the field or – in winter and in adverse weather – to the exercise yard.
Meat from healthy calves
Providing calves with plenty of iron is a challenge. Since 2008, under the Swiss Animal Protection Ordinance, as well as milk, it is being mandatory for calves to also have access to roughage and water. Although this helps, it does not carry a good supply of iron.
A survey by Swiss Animal Protection (SAP) of the supply of iron to calves in Switzerland reveals that the natural systems like Natura-Veal (veal from suckler cow husbandry, available exclusively at Coop in the retail sector) and organic show good haemoglobin values. A marked improvement has been achieved in the Naturafarm system compared with 2010. However, more detailed analyses reveal that there is still further scope for improvement. We are working on this with concrete measures: Since the spring of 2016, Naturafarm calves have had access to larger hay racks. Moreover, the hay racks must be filled at all times. This is checked by unannounced inspections by Swiss Animal Protection (SAP).
We also promote projects to improve calf management in the first few weeks of life, which are critical to the development of a calf's immune system.