Animal welfare group Compassion in World Farming has welcomed a decision by Unilever’s Knorr brand to become the first company to sign up to the European Broiler Ask.
The European Broiler Ask is calling on suppliers to meet a range of welfare requirements covering all fresh, frozen and processed chicken across the supply chain. These include:
• Complying with all EU animal welfare laws and regulations, regardless of the country of production;
• Implementing a maximum stocking density of 30kg/square metre and if practised thinning must be limited to one thin per flock;
• Adopting breeds that demonstrate higher welfare outcomes – breeds should meet the RSPCA Broiler Breed Welfare Assessment Protocol;
• Meeting improved environmental standards on natural lights, perch space and air quality. No cages or multi-tier systems are allowed;
• Adopting controlled atmospheric stunning using inert gas or multi-phased systems, or effective electrical stunning without live inversion;
• Demonstrating compliance with the standards through third-party auditing and annual public reporting.
Knorr have said they aim to achieve the criteria by 2024 – two years ahead of ASK’s target date. It follows a similar announcement for all Unilever products in the United States, which will affect 50 million chickens. Knorr sells around 600 bouillon cubes every second around the globe.
Dr Tracey Jones, CIWF director of food business, said Unilever and Knorr continued to demonstrate real leadership in farm animal welfare.
“We hope that Unilever are the first of many to sign up in Europe. Large corporates have the power and influence to make change happen. We’ve seen big brands act as a catalyst for large-scale market shift before. This was demonstrated in 2008 when the leading Unilever brand Hellmann’s converted to free-range eggs in its mayonnaise which created a stir in the market place as other brands followed suit,” she added.