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Large cafe chain invests in broiler welfare

The popular cafe chain Joe & The Juice, which has 312 juice bars and coffee shops worldwide, has committed to using slower-growing chickens and housing birds with increased space and natural light.

Joe & the Juice have embraced the industry welfare standard Better Chicken Commitment (BCC), which has also been adopted by businesses such as KFC, Marks & Spencer, and Waitrose. The chain has announced that they will implement these standards as soon as 2023, and possibly even sooner.

We intend to begin the implementation in cooperation with our supplier already in 2021, if all circumstances allow.” – Thomas Noroxe, Chief of Staff at Joe & the Juice.

With locations in Singapore, Hong Kong and Seoul, the chain is set to become the first BCC-compliant chain with locations in East Asia, marking a significant step for broiler welfare in foreign markets.

Broilers raised under the Better Chicken Commitment have more space and light intensity of at least 50 lux in houses including natural light. Photo: Hans Banus
Broilers raised under the Better Chicken Commitment have more space and light intensity of at least 50 lux in houses including natural light. Photo: Hans Banus

Use of fast-growing broilers criticised

The use of fast-growing broilers has been criticised by animal protection organisations from around the world. The broilers face serious welfare problems such as high mortality, skin lesions, lameness and trouble walking, and suffer an increased risk of disease and organ failure.

Protecting broilers from heart failure
Heart issues in fast-growing broiler chickens might be linked to how their genes respond to epigenetic factors.

The BCC requires a slower growing breed, which reduces the chance of movement problem and significantly lowers the risk of disease for the birds. Furthermore, it lowers the stocking density, which gives the chickens more space to move in addition to pecking substrates and perch space. Whereas slower growing breeds are thought not to be as efficient in production, research suggests that their better welfare, lower mortality and improved meat quality makes them a commercially attractive option.

Joe & the Juice stands out as an organisation by having set an ambitious deadline for implementing BCC.”

Animal protection agency commends decision

The animal protection organisation better commends the café chain’s decision to implement BCC. “Joe & the Juice stands out as an organisation by having set an ambitious deadline for implementing BCC. This is commendable in itself and even more so if the chain succeeds in further improving the deadline. Additionally, the decision to roll out the implementation globally will potentially empower the effort to increase broiler welfare in markets where animal welfare traditionally has had a lower priority in a business context,” says Connor Jackson, CEO of Open Cages. Open Cages works to secure BCC commitments from retailers and other vendors across Europe, as part of Anima International.