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.

In Switzerland, the Animal Protection Act and the Animal Protection Ordinance regulate the husbandry of livestock. The following regulations apply, among others:

    • Husbandry and feeding of livestock: Sheds must be sufficiently large and animals must be permitted enough movement throughout the year. Beef cattle, for example, may only be kept without access to outdoor areas for a maximum of two weeks at a time.
      Feeding must be animal-friendly, i.e. access to feeding troughs must involve minimum stress for the animals; animal feed must be appropriate for the species. Calves must be given roughage and sufficient liquids.
      The tethering or restriction of sows to crates and hard, fully slatted floors in the lying-down areas for cattle are prohibited. The same applies to the use of antibiotics to promote growth.
    • Transportation and slaughter: The maximum transportation time for live animals is limited to six hours. All vertebrates must be anaesthetized before slaughter. 
    • Castration and docking, clipping and beak trimming: The castration of pigs without analgesia has been banned since 2008. Beak trimming and the clipping of wings in poultry and the docking or tying of the tails of cattle are prohibited.

Guidelines for sustainable procurement

Our guidelines for sustainable procurement prescribe the minimum requirements for animal welfare across the entire product 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, we do not sell articles made of real fur.

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 animal husbandry, transportation and livestock slaughtering practices of our foreign suppliers. 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 BTS 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. 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.

Transportation and slaughter

On our behalf, SAP regularly checks the animal transportation practices of our suppliers without giving them advance notification. Unharried, proper transportation of the livestock has a positive effect on the quality of the meat. The Swiss Animal Protection Act gives clear guidelines on this:

    • 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.
    • Livestock transporters: for reasons of hygiene, livestock may only be transported using specially designed lorries.

All vertebrates must be anaesthetized before slaughter. Our subsidiary Bell uses a gas anaesthetic for poultry, for example.


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