How do we assess the banks?
The criteria used for this assessment are based on those developed by the Fair Finance Guide. Some were adapted to make them stricter, and a few were added to the list.
Aside from farmed animals, this assessment also includes—as does the Fair Finance Guide—criteria for animal welfare in (medical) testing, fashion, conservation, education, entertainment, and commercial activities. This choice was made as it’s important that financial institutions adopt a comprehensive, cross-sectoral animal welfare policy, not one that only applies to a specific sector.
A summarized version of the set of criteria is described on this page. The detailed criteria can be found in Appendix 1 of the Report .
Animal Farming & Food Production
Financial institutions require the companies they fund to respect the Five Freedoms, which states that animals should be free from:
- Hunger, thirst and malnutrition
- Any thermal or physical discomfort
- Pain, injury and diseases
- Fear and chronic stress
- The denial of natural (species-specific) behaviour
Financial institutions refuse to fund companies that use cages, crates, tethering, and other severely restricting housing or movement methods, including keeping calves in crates, sows in farrowing and/or gestation crates, laying hens in cages, and animals on fully slatted floors.
Financial institutions only accept to fund companies that ensure adequate environmental conditions for animals that do not subject them to extreme temperatures and that provide them with access to clean air, water, and enriching environments that meet the minimum criteria as defined by the FARMS Initiative, where applicable.
Financial institutions refuse to fund companies that perform painful procedures such as teeth clipping/grinding, dehorning, debeaking, tail docking, and castration.
When painful procedures have to be carried out, for medical reasons, legal reasons, or as measures of last resort, animals must receive appropriate anesthetics and analgesics to significantly reduce pain levels.
Financial institutions only accept to fund companies that commit to prioritise animal welfare in breeding and genetic selection.
Financial institutions only accept to fund companies that reduce the time of animal transport to a maximum limit.
Financial institutions only accept to fund companies that perform animal slaughter (including fish and animals that are considered pests) in the least distressing and most pain-free manner possible.
Financial institutions only accept to fund companies that provide independently audited reports on, at least, a yearly basis detailing how they implement and uphold minimum animal welfare standards.
Financial institutions only accept to fund companies that apply a prudent use of antimicrobial medicines (such as antibiotics) in food-producing animals in order to minimize antimicrobial resistance.
Financial institutions only accept to fund companies that commit to a time-bound shift from animal protein to plant and alternative proteins in order to decrease animal protein consumption.
Financial institutions refuse to fund companies that perform non-medical animal testing.
Financial institutions refuse to fund companies that do not have policies for the use of (laboratory) animals for manufacturing medical products in order to limit animal suffering and the number of animals used as much as possible. Companies must also demonstrably look for alternatives (the so-called 3R-strategy: “Replace, Reduce, Refine”).
Financial institutions refuse to fund companies that perform genetic modification of animals.
Pets, Entertainment and Fashion
Financial institutions do not accept to fund companies that capture and/or keep animals for the primary purpose of using their skin or fur, or that are involved in manufacturing, trading, and selling of animal skin- or fur-derived products.
Financial institutions do not accept to fund companies that trade wild animals (including fish) for the pet trade, the entertainment industry, or any other purpose.
Financial institutions only accept to fund companies that follow best-in-class practices regarding the welfare of animals held captive for activities that have an educational and/or species conservation and protection objective.
Financial institutions refuse to fund companies that perform entertainment or other commercial activities in which wild animals are involved or animals are exposed to distress (including circuses, dolphinariums, fighting games with animals, horse racing, advertisements, and shows and exhibitions with animals).
Financial institutions only accept to fund companies that integrate high animal welfare criteria into their procurement and operational policies and include clauses on the compliance with criteria on animal welfare in their contracts with subcontractors and suppliers.
The financial institution has a procurement policy that requires its suppliers to comply with its animal welfare policy.
Contracts between the financial institution and its clients or suppliers include animal welfare requirements as well as covenants on breaches of these commitments.
The financial institution has special programmes to promote sustainable, animal-friendly food production systems.