Yorkshire-based premium beef business Warrendale Wagyu has received a global welfare award from Compassion in World Farming.

Warrendale was singled out for a 'Good Calf Award' in recognition of its novel approach to beef production, which uses Wagyu genetics on 80 dairy farms to produce Wagyu cross animals, to be reared in high-welfare systems by specialist calf rearers.

The company has 6000 cattle with 120 calves being born every week. Through a partnership approach with over 150 local farmers it supplies Wagyu beef to a range of restaurants, supermarkets and online customers.

Production director Jamie Brownrigg said: “Winning the award is real recognition of all the hard work our farmers put into producing high welfare Wagyu.

“We work closely with them to maintain excellent links and agree buy-back contracts for the animals meaning all parties have a vested interest in their welfare and they are given the best start in life.”

He noted that one of the key requirements of the award was the provision of group housing: "We’re proud to be implementing measures across our farms to make sure all our calves and cattle are raised in social groups.

“A localised approach to farm partnerships means transport times between farms is kept to a minimum. In some cases cattle are even able to walk between sites. Everything has been designed with cattle welfare in mind,” he said.

Commercial director, Tom Richardson, explained that this approach was part of Warrendale’s market positioning: “Calves from dairy cows have sometimes been viewed as a by-product of the milk industry, but Warrendale works with dairy farmers to give a purpose for these Wagyu cross calves and ensure they are reared and cared for through this system.”