Sainsbury and Iceland have hit back at claims they are lagging behind competitors in the animal welfare stakes. The move follows a report from Compassion in World Farming placing them at the bottom of the compassionate supermarket' table. M&S came top, scoring 40 points out of a possible 55, ahead of Waitrose with 38, Safeway with 29 and the Co-op Group with 28. Sainsbury and Morrisons scored 20. Iceland came last with 18. Although Iceland performed well on most categories, its low score was chiefly due to the fact it does not stock free range and organic chicken, pigmeat and milk, hardly surprising given the response from its customers to its organic initiatives in the past, said a spokeswoman. "Our product range reflects what our customers want to buy." Sainsbury said it had contacted CIWF to express concern: "We were very surprised we ranked so low on the survey as animal welfare is a top priority for Sainsbury." Welfare friendly indicators used by CIWF included not sourcing animals from livestock markets, selling organic and free range products, providing bedding, and clear policies on issues such as maximum journey times. {{NEWS }}