Nestle commits to higher standards of welfare for broilers

16-10-2017 | | |
Photo: Bertil van Beek
Photo: Bertil van Beek

Nestle USA has pledged to commit to higher standards of welfare for broiler chickens by 2024.

The company said it would strive to source all of the broiler chickens used as ingredients for its US food portfolio from sources meeting a higher standard of animal welfare, building on its global commitment on farm animal welfare.

It said it would work with its US suppliers to:

  • Transition to breeds of chicken recognised as having improved welfare outcomes, including slower growth rates and better leg health, as approved by the Global Animal Partnership (GAP)
  • Reduce stocking density to a maximum of 6lbs/square foot
  • Improve the environment in which broiler chickens are kept in line with the new GAP standard, including access to natural light, improved litter and enriched surroundings to help allow expression of natural behaviour
  • Ensure broiler chickens are processed in a manner that avoids pre-stunning, and instead use multi-step controlled atmospheric system that produces an irreversible stun
  • Show compliance with these standards through third-party audits and report on progress.

Paul Grimwood, chairman and chief executive of Nestle USA commented: “We want to help bring about positive change at every level of our supply chain – from our direct suppliers all the way back to the farms.

Cage-free hens

“We have already pledged that by 2020 all of the eggs we source as ingredients for our food products in the US will come from cage-free hens. Today, we are taking the next step in that journey to help push for higher standards of welfare for broiler chickens.”

The company said the transition was a complex undertaking and would be achieved in a sustainable and cost-effective way, working closely with broiler chicken suppliers and others in the food sector, as well as farmers, NGOs and customers.

Move welcomed by Humane Society

The move was welcomed by the Humane Society of the United States which said that the fact the world’s largest food company was mandating better treatment for animals showed the cultural and behavioural changes taking place in society.

World Animal Protection congratulated Nestle on its stance. Dr Martin Cooke, international head of corporate engagement, said he looked forward to following the company’s progress as they implemented “these transformative changes for the chickens in their supply chain.”

Tony Mcdougal Freelance Journalist