WORKING TOGETHER WE CAN MAKE LIFE BETTER FOR MILLIONS OF CHICKENS
WHAT'S WRONG WITH MODERN BROILER PRODUCTION?
TOO MANY BIRDS. NOT ENOUGH ROOM
Meat chickens are the most farmed land animal in the world. Seven billion are reared in Europe every year, and 90% of these are crammed into barren sheds.
Chickens can feel emotions just like us, such as pain and fear, so regularly suffer in these harsh conditions.
The problem - overcrowded sheds
Intensively farmed chickens are packed into overcrowded sheds - often with little or no natural light and only litter on the floor. They dislike being crammed together and will compress their feathers to avoid touching one another.
A lack of stimulating materials mean they spend most of their time inactive and bored.
The solution - room to breathe
A chicken’s life is transformed when they are given more space, natural light and can do what comes naturally: pecking, scratching, wing flapping and perching.
In the best systems, they have separate places to rest, feed, drink and play – and can go outside for fresh air and sunlight.
TOO BIG. TOO FAST
Most chickens are bred to grow so quickly they can struggle to walk and can develop serious heart conditions.
Chickens are healthier, happier and more active when they are bred to grow more slowly and have the space and stimulation they need to behave like chickens.
The problem - trapped in oversized bodies
Intensively farmed chickens can struggle to walk and become lame. Many develop heart conditions making them even more inactive and prone to metabolic problems.
High body weight causes their muscles to degenerate – which also reduces the quality of the meat.
The solution - a natural, healthy size
Slower growing breeds means:
- Chickens have more natural proportions and are able to walk more easily
- Chickens have stronger hearts and better resistance to disease
- Chickens have stronger, healthier muscles which provides good quality meat
BAD FOR THEM. BAD FOR US
The majority of meat chickens are bred to grow so fast they're ready for market as early as 33 days old. This is exhausting for them and leads to serious health problems.
Selective breeding to create fast growing animals, and their poor living conditions, means antibiotics are often routinely used to combat disease.
The problem - unhealthy for chickens and consumers
Poor immune systems and living conditions allow bacteria to flourish, which can lead to a greater risk of food poisoning
Antibiotics are routinely given to chickens to survive poor welfare systems, when they should only be given to sick animals.
The quality and nutritional content of intensively farm chicken meat is also poorer.
The solution - healthier chicken, better for customers
Making sure chickens don’t grow too fast and have better living conditions dramatically reduces the need for antibiotics. As a result fewer chickens become infected with harmful bacteria.
Using higher welfare chicken means you can offer better quality meat and healthier, more nutritious food to your customers.
Higher welfare chicken is:
- Better for chickens - they are more active and healthy in higher welfare systems
- Better for health - less disease and reduced risk of food poisoning
- Better for your customers - higher quality, more nutritious food
WORKING WITH THE FOOD INDUSTRY TO CREATE CHANGE
To date, more than 1.88 billion animals are set to benefit from our corporate partners' higher welfare policies, practices and commitments - 88% of these animals are broiler chickens.
We are calling on food businesses to offer chickens a better life, with:
- Better genetics for improved quality of life
- More space to live
- Natural light, perches and pecking substrates to stimulate behaviour
- Humane slaughter
- Compliance with a meaningful third party animal welfare certification and annual reporting
Due to the increase in consumer demand for higher welfare products, food industry leaders have already started stepping up for chickens in a major way – and hundreds of millions of birds will live better lives in the future as a result.
In the US, over 130 companies have already made a public commitment to provide better welfare for broilers and European companies are getting on board...
Who has signed up to the European Chicken Commitment in Europe?
Waitrose has signed up to the European Chicken Commitment, and already provide their chickens with more space, natural light and a rich environment.
M&S has signed up to the European Chicken Commitment across 100% of their fresh and ingredient chicken offer.
Unilever’s commitment covers all its bouillons and soups – a truly phenomenal commitment given that the chicken is for ingredients in products where its power in the supply chain is limited.
By 2026, all Nestlé food products that use chicken as an ingredient in Europe will move to the higher welfare standards as set out in the European Chicken Commitment.
Casual Dining Group (CDG), the leading UK restaurant group, has publicly committed to introduce higher welfare standards for chickens across their entire business portfolio including: Café Rouge, Bella Italia, Las Iguanas, La Tasca, Huxleys, Oriel Grande Brasserie and Belgo.
One of the largest global contract caterers, Compass Group, has made the pledge to transform the welfare of chickens by signing up to the 2026 European Chicken Commitment. They have also signed a similar pledge in the US to introduce higher welfare standards for broilers by 2024.
Sodexo has committed to source 100% of their chicken meat from systems compliant with the criteria set out in the European Chicken Commitment, across all of their European operations, by 2026.
Elior Group has committed to using only higher welfare chicken GLOBALLY by 2026. Read more here.
Danone, world leader in infant nutrition, has committed to improve broiler welfare across their entire European supply chain. Read more here.
Monoprix is the first French retailer to sign up to the European Chicken Commitment and aims to meet the criteria for their own-brand chicken ahead of schedule, by 2024.
Compassion is proud to have played an influencing role in securing these higher welfare commitments and due to market forces, other companies are following suit, including: Pret, Prezzo, Zizzi, Ask Italian and Coco di Mama.
JOIN THE BROILER REVOLUTION!
Also, watch the latest video of the Windstreek System that has been developed in The Netherlands which is a new, modern design of broiler shed, incorporating multiple features for improved welfare and sustainability. (You can also read a more detailed case study on this system here.)