Ethical livestock-farming a growing trend in Vietnam
It took Vinh Thanh Dat Company one year to obtain the Humane Farm Animal Care (HFAC) certification. The global certificate is about ethical practices in farming or animal welfare. In addition to the standards farmers have to observe, the fowl in farms must not be kept in captivity (cage free), i.e. they must be raised free range. Hens must be allowed to move freely.
The 6,000 fowl in Vinh Thanh Dat are required to have 1,100 laying nests, 1,000 meters of perches, and trays for food and drinking water. Meanwhile, there must be a layer of husks for poultry to scratch.
With this raising model, the egg production cost is 40 percent higher than normal breeding. The eggs with ‘animal welfare’ sold in its distribution system are VND5,000 per egg, while normal eggs sell for VND3,500.
The eggs are available in the market, and are provided to retailers such as MM Mega market and Sofitel Hotel.
Anil Viswanathan, CEO of Mondelez Kinh Do Vietnam, said the enterprise is following HFA standards for sponge cake using domestically produced chicken eggs. This is part of a plan on developing sustainable food materials in Vietnam, together with the North American market.
However, he said the Vietnamese market has chicken eggs raised under animal welfare standards that are still not high enough. As customers don’t understand much about this kind of egg, they are not willing to pay more.
Meanwhile, a survey conducted by ESI Insights for World Animal Protection found that 67 percent of global consumers consider animal welfare when buying food. The figure for Millennial customers (18-35 years old), was 83 percent.
Ha Thuy Hanh from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) said OIE has asked to be sure that certificates on animal welfare are labeled on export products to some countries.
The ministry has created a strategy on developing the livestock industry, under which by 2030 20 percent of fowl will be raised with animal welfare standards, and this will apply to pigs as well.
According to Hanh, the units responsible for the sales outlets of products need to prepare for the program so that large farms can begin shifting gradually to the animal welfare program, to increase the value of products. This is a priority of MARD.