Major UK banks are failing to consider animal welfare policies, according to a report by World Animal Protection UK.
The report, titled ‘Banking on Welfare,’ gave five of the biggest banks a score of 0 percent on animal welfare.
A handful of banks scored higher, including Triodos, Standard Chartered, and The Co-operative Bank. Although none of these have a dedicated animal welfare policy, they do highlight animal welfare in other policy documents.
Lindsay Duncan, World Animal Protection Farming Campaigns Manager, said in a statement: “We are calling on customers to write to their bank urging them to put in place a dedicated animal welfare policy to stop them investing in animal cruelty.”
Major UK banks lack animal welfare policies
The banks that made no mention of animal welfare in any policies were Santander, HSBC, Lloyds, Metro Bank, and Barclays.
A separate report published by Feedback Global in November 2023 found that these five banks (plus NatWest) collectively financed 55 of the world’s largest livestock companies to the tune of USD $77 billion between 2015 and 2022.
World Animal Protection’s report looked at the animal welfare policies of ten high-street banks. The researchers used the 2023 Fair Finance Guide Methodology (FFG) to score banks based on agreed welfare criteria. These included animal testing, breeding practices, and slaughter methods.
Consumers want animal welfare policies
Prioritizing animal welfare is important to UK consumers, according to the new report. As part of the research, World Animal Protection UK carried out a survey on public views of animal welfare. Three in five UK consumers said they want all banks to have an animal welfare policy.
Three in five also claimed to feel misled to discover that their bank may be investing in harmful activities like factory farming and deforestation.
Meanwhile, nearly half of people polled said they would move where they bank to ensure their money is not used in investments that may be cruel to animals.
Triodos takes top spot for animal welfare
Triodos took the top spot in the analysis with a score of 86 percent. Despite topping the rankings, however, the report notes that Triodos “has more work to do on farming, and would benefit from having a dedicated animal welfare policy.”
Banks have trillions of pounds tied up in companies that are linked to factory farming. This includes animal producers, feed companies, supermarkets, and restaurants.
Without a specific animal welfare policy, customers’ money, including pension pots, insurance premiums, and bank deposits are likely funding animal cruelty.