US working group for broiler welfare formed

18-08-2021 | | |
Several big brands in the US have formed the US Working Group for Broiler Welfare. Photo: Brian David
Several big brands in the US have formed the US Working Group for Broiler Welfare. Photo: Brian David

Significant food and restaurant companies have come together to improve broiler chicken welfare standards in the US.

In recognition of the collaboration needed to improve broiler chicken welfare, 7 big food and restaurant companies – Aramark, Compass Group, Nestlé USA, Panera Bread, Shake Shack, Sodexo and Target – have united to form the US Working Group for Broiler Welfare. Facilitated by Compassion in World Farming and Blue House Sustainability Consulting, the US Working Group for Broiler Welfare aims to support members in exploring workable strategies and creative solutions for transitioning supply chains through the lens of the welfare standards outlined in the Better Chicken Commitment.

A committed to improve bird welfare

Over 200 brands in the US have committed to improve welfare standards in alignment with the Better Chicken Commitment, which sets a baseline welfare standard for breed selection, space allocation, environmental enrichments, slaughter method, and third-party auditing.

The better Chicken Commitment

By 2024, the Better Chicken Commitment requires chicken suppliers meet several requirements for 100% of products. These are:
– Broiler cages prohibited.
– Maximum stocking density of 2.7kg per square foot.
– Enriched environments provided to the birds.
– In terms of processing, avoid pre-stun handling and instead use multi-step controlled atmosphere processing system that induces and irreversible stun.
– Demonstrate compliance with all standards via third-party auditing.

Furthermore, by 2026, suppliers must adopt breeds that demonstrate higher welfare outcomes that meet the criteria of the RSPCA Broiler Breed Welfare Assessment Protocol or Global Animal Partnership.

Natalie Berkhout Freelance journalist