Working with the food industry to create positive change for chicken welfare
For many years, Compassion in World Farming has been working hard to raise baseline welfare standards for all chickens reared for meat. Poor welfare should not be an option – for the chickens, for the health of our planet and for the quality of human diets!
The Better Chicken Commitment is fundamental to this.
Why we need to raise the bar
Chickens raised for meat are the most farmed land animal in the world. In the UK alone, more than one billion chickens are reared each year. The vast majority are raised in barren, cramped sheds - often with no natural light and nothing for them to do. These birds can feel emotions just like us - such as pain, fear and boredom - so regularly suffer in these harsh conditions.
Most chickens are bred to grow so big so fast (4x faster than 50 years ago) they are unable to behave like chickens, who naturally like to perch, peck, forage and play. These birds often struggle to walk and spend most of their time sitting doing nothing or become lame. They suffer a range of other health problems including heart defects, organ failure, muscle disease, foot lesions and compromised immune systems.
What is the Better Chicken Commitment?
In 2017, Compassion in World Farming joined forces with a group of European NGOs asking the food industry to commit to new welfare standards for all chickens raised for meat.
The Better Chicken Commitment (also known as the European Chicken Commitment) is a pledge committing those who have signed up to introduce higher welfare standards for ALL chickens in their supply chain, by 2026.
We want to raise the baseline for all chicken production. This will mean that consumers can trust that the chicken they are buying or being served hasn’t come from a poor welfare system. Chickens are sentient beings, not commodities, and deserve a good quality of life.
The Better Chicken Commitment requires the following:
Use of slower-growing, healthier breeds of chicken
More space to live
Natural light, perches and pecking objects such as grain and straw
More humane slaughter practices
Compliance with third-party animal welfare auditing and annual reporting
M&S - THE ONLY UK SUPERMARKET TO SELL 100% BCC-COMPLIANT FRESH CHICKEN
M&S is the only UK retailer to have 100%of its fresh chicken (under its OakhamTM Gold label in its ‘Remarksable’ range) meet the Better Chicken Commitment standards and is RSPCA Assured.
M&S was the first UK retailer to sign up to the Better Chicken Commitment in 2018, and is leading the way in transforming the market.
"We want to keep raising the bar to improve welfare. It’s something we know our customers care deeply about and we do too." Andrew Clappen, Technical Director, M&S
So what other companies have signed up to the BCC?
In Europe, over 350 companies have signed up to the Better Chicken Commitment, pledging to introduce the higher welfare criteria for all the chickens in their supply chain by 2026.
The companies below have signed up to use healthier, happier chickens reared in better environments. Please support them on their journey and encourage those companies that haven't yet made the BCC pledge to get on board with higher welfare chicken!
You can find out more about the progress some of these companies are making in implementing these standards in our latest ChickenTrack Report.
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