In December 2019 Ethical Consumer viewed Lidl's Animal Health and Welfare policy on its website. A questionnaire response received from Lidl in March 2019 was also viewed.

The questionnaire and policy stated: "We do not support animal testing and recognise that our customers are strongly opposed to the use of animals for the testing and development of products. In compliance with the EU ban on animal testing, we do not carry out or commission any such testing on our own-brand products or the ingredients they contain. Suppliers must ensure that cosmetic or household products supplied to Lidl UK have not been tested on animals and have met legally required timescales." A strong policy would have included a fixed cut-off date. Furthermore, no mention was made of policies regarding non-own brand animal tested products, therefore it was considered likely that the company retailed products that had been tested on animals.

Overall, Lidl received Ethical Consumer's middle rating for Animal Testing and lost half a mark in this category.

Reference:

Ethical Consumer questionnaire (14 March 2019)

In December 2019 Ethical Consumer viewed Lidl's website and found that the company sold a range of meats, poultry and fish which were not labelled as organic or free-range.

Regarding animal welfare policies, the company's March 2019 completed Ethical Consumer questionnaire stated: "As part of our sourcing strategy, Lidl UK has a strong commitment to UK farming and ensures that 100% of the following own-brand product lines are sourced from UK (red tractor assured) suppliers: Shell eggs, Milk, Cream, Butter, ‘Birchwood Farm’ and ‘Strathvale Farm’ Beef, Chicken and Pork. Where appropriate, we accredit products to higher welfare standards through the RSPCA’s ethical food label, ‘RSPCA Assured". This standard independently certifies that farm animals have been reared to higher welfare standards and are fully traceable from farm to fork. In this regard, Lidl UK has made the following commitments:
i. All outdoor bred pork must be RSPCA Assured.
ii. All ‘Deluxe’ Turkey must be RSPCA Assured.
iii. From September 2017 all ‘Deluxe’ farmed salmon must be RSPCA Assured.

Ethical Consumer considered these standards to equate to bare minimum standards. The company therefore lost a whole mark under Ethical Consumer's Animal Rights and Factory Farming categories.

Reference:

https://www.lidl.co.uk (22 January 2019)

In December 2019 Ethical Consumer viewed an article on the Independent website titled "Nando’s and Asda chicken: Birds ‘stepped on and left convulsing and wounded in scenes of suffering and cannibalism" and dated May 2019.

It reported: "Workers on chicken farms supplying Nando’s, Asda and Lidl have been filmed leaving a bird convulsing after breaking its neck, stepping on the animals necks and throwing sick ones onto piles, footage from an animal rights group shows."

It went on to report that "The “harrowing scenes of painful abuse” were shot in two separate investigations at farms run by one of the UK’s largest food businesses and endorsed by the Red Tractor scheme."

Lidl responded: ""Lidl referred to a British Retail Consortium statement that said: “Our members take their responsibilities to animal welfare very seriously. “Any breaches to animal welfare are totally unacceptable and should be investigated immediately, with swift action taken to rectify any issues.”"

As a result the company lost a whole mark under Animal Rights and a whole mark under Factory Farming.

Reference:

Nando’s and Asda chicken: Birds ‘stepped on and left convulsing and wounded in scenes of suffering a

According to the Viva! website, www.viva.org.uk, viewed in January 2019, 'The shocking secrets behind the trade in ‘novelty’ reindeer meat', Lidl was or recently had been, selling reindeer meat from Siberia. Viva! had uncovered concerns that the growing popularity of reindeer meat in Britain was causing the destruction of large wild predators including wolves, wolverines, lynxes, foxes and bears with cubs.

In Siberia, bounties are often put on wolves and in many areas there are calls for their localised extinction in order to protect reindeer farming.

Viva! said that Lidl was selling reindeer meat as a 'novelty', in itself popularising the consumption of meat from wild animals, and in-turn exerting potentially disastrous pressure on populations already suffering from the threats of climate change, urban encroachment, pollution and poaching - as well as their natural predators.

Viva! was calling on its supporters to contact the company telling them to stop stocking the product. The company lost a whole mark under Animal Rights and half a mark under Habitats & Resources in light of this criticism.

Reference:

The shocking secrets behind the trade in ‘novelty’ reindeer meat (15 January 2013)