Mandy Lucas: Talking to farmers about what makes them proud and how they overcome challenges is perhaps where I am happiest.

I have spent the last 22 years championing animal welfare across food and textile production systems. In my first freelance year, I have conducted animal welfare assessments in: Zimbabwe, South Africa, Thailand, Poland, Louisiana and Ireland.

It is important for all businesses to consider their sourcing policy, often as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) report or within their Sustainability Development Goals (SDGs). 

Traceability, transparency and resilience are key to a successful business and by understanding their supply chains, businesses can establish an animal welfare policy. 

Initially developing auditing techniques, for Integra Food Secure Ltd, that uncover not only what a farmer is doing, but more importantly why? A discursive approach to information gathering, gives the auditee the opportunity to highlight what they are most proud of and share the frustration and challenges they encounter every day. This in turn allows the auditor the chance to contextualise the what and why to ensure any action plans are discussed to, not only establish compliance but, understand the benefits compliance will bring in resolving challenges or improving outcomes.

I have discussed production challenges with farmers around the world and realise that whether in Africa, China, Brazil, Thailand, Europe or the UK the empathy I have with this community creates trust and a common understanding.

More recently, as Animal Welfare Director for NSF International, I had the opportunity to create and implement animal welfare policies and standards across a diverse client base including retailers, food service businesses, along with restaurant and bar groups.

Whilst originally working in the food sector, more recent work has involved textile production (covering down, wool, fibre and leather).

When I am not at work….