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Two companies are actively working on their Better Chicken Commitment roadmaps.

  • Quick, a prominent French fast-food chain, has embarked on a research project to explore alternative slaughter methods.
  • Fileni, an Italian producer, has been working on building a comprehensive roadmap towards achieving BCC compliance for a significant portion of their supply chain.

Learn more about their work below.

Quick: “EndShack” research project

Quick logo

Broiler Chicken Slaughter Conditions without Live Inversion Of The Animals

Quick's Commitment and Presentation of the Project Partners

As part of a global initiative to improve animal welfare, the French fast-food chain Quick committed to the Better Chicken Commitment in December 2022 to further its commitment to protecting broiler chickens.

One of the BCC criteria involves slaughtering chicken without suspending and inverting the chickens upside down. Quick therefore commissioned French researchers specialising in this field to develop an innovative method aimed at improving animal welfare on preslaughter handling stages, while respecting Quick specifications:

  • Bureau ETRE is a research consultancy with a team of applied ethologists and livestock farming specialists. It is run by Dr Cécile Bourguet, researcher and consultant in ethology. Bureau ETRE provides science-based services (research, expertise, consultancy and training) on animal behaviour and welfare, specialising in stress issues at slaughter. Bureau ETRE works with all types of stakeholders: companies, national and European public bodies and NGOs.
  • The INRAE Caraibe team (Animal Behaviour, Robustness and Integrated Approach to Welfare) specialises in the study of animal welfare on farm and at slaughter. INRAE is the French National Institute for Agriculture and Environment Research. The Caraibe team studies psychobiological responses to identify stressful situations for animals, in order to propose new husbandry methods. Their work on stunning and slaughter is piloted by Dr Claudia Terlouw, with the support of a team of specialist research technicians, with over 30 years of experience.
Quick as a brand is aware of changes in society. For several months now, we have been looking in depth at how we can implement higher welfare practices in our supply chain. In collaboration with Compassion in World Farming, France's leading scientific experts on the topic, Bureau ETRE and INRAE, and our suppliers, we are working to improve practices, while preserving the specificity of Quick’s offer.

Nicaise Delette - Senior Quality Manager, Quick

Scientific Background and Objectives of the Study 

Before slaughter, poultry are usually secured by their legs - using metal shackles - to a railing leading to the slaughter station, which causes several animal welfare issues: stress linked to the proximity of the operators and the unnatural position of the chickens, and pain, as the weight of the animals is supported by their joints. There is also a risk of injury if the animals flap their wings. Studies are therefore essential to develop a method that does not require inversion of the birds.

The aim of the proposed study is to develop a method:

  • That does not require inversion of birds.
  • To guarantee the absence of pain and stress until the death of the animal caused by bleeding, while complying with regulatory requirements in terms of animal protection and those relating to the halal certification.
  • Fit for routine use in commercial abattoirs.

The study will be divided into two phases:

  • Firstly, an experimental phase (estimated duration: minimum two years) will aim to develop a prototype that will enable the appropriate parameters to be identified and the chickens to be kept in an upright position.
  • Secondly, a study of the conditions for upscaling the method to commercial use will be carried out.

The results will be published in scientific journals.

Fileni: Creating a Roadmap

Fileni Logo

Leading Italian chicken producer, Fileni, has been working with Compassion in World Farming since 2021, the year in which they became the first company in the country to publicly commit to the Better Chicken Commitment for a portion of their production.

Since then, Compassion has been working with Fileni on the implementation of the criteria. This has included training sessions, technical support on the practicalities of implementing BCC on farms, and guidance on progress reporting and roadmap development – something that is fundamental for any transition – involving the entire company to ensure everyone is invested in its success.

From Commitment to Action: Fileni’s Roadmap for Higher Welfare Chicken
Publishing a commitment, with dates and objectives, has to be a careful balance between the desire to set ambitious goals, but also those that can realistically be achieved in current conditions.

When Fileni published its policy in 2021, it worked hard to get this balance right across the entire production chain. The first steps for the implementation of the commitment and the building of a roadmap included critical mapping of the current farming structure, gap analysis, a levelling plan and validation audits.

Initial Objectives
The first step in Fileni's commitment was the implementation of the BCC criteria in the organic and free-range supply chains within one year of signing up. At this stage, Compassion supported the company in understanding the gaps and practicalities of implementing the different criteria, especially with regard to the appropriate types of perches and substrates and the measurement of light intensity and natural light.

The planning of structural interventions for this last point, especially on contract farms, together with the consequences of the economic and geopolitical environment, led to a one-year delay in the completion of the first objective, during which the company was nevertheless able to achieve some crucial goals:

  • complete the transition to slower growing breeds (Ranger Classic for organic farms and Hubbard Red JA for free-range production)
  • replace the stunning system at the slaughterhouse for organic and free-range chickens with a Controlled Atmosphere Stunning (CAS) system
  • provide financial support to farmers to make the necessary improvements
  • held training sessions on topics such as biosecurity, animal welfare indicators and operational instructions on stunning and emergency euthanasia.

Benefits of Improving Welfare and Next Steps

"The implementation of the first part of the commitment, in addition to improving the quality of both directly owned and contract farms, has been instrumental in improving collaboration between the various departments involved, which allowed for a 360-degree understanding of the processes within the supply chain. The operators have understood the importance of respecting animal welfare and the close correlation that exists between animal welfare and zootechnical performance. Having satisfied farmers makes it easier for the technician to do his job and to manage farms with heighted awareness."

Increased awareness and interdepartmental collaboration have made it possible to develop a realistic roadmap for the implementation of the company’s second objective, the conversion of part of the conventional farms to BCC criteria and the development of third-party audits. In fact, Fileni has started working with an independent third party to produce a BCC checklist for audit (notably, Italy lacked a readily available BCC certification scheme, making this partnership pivotal).

With regard to the intermediate timelines for the conversion of the conventional production, this is predominantly influenced by the transition in breeds, with the gradual housing of slower growing birds already underway in 5% of the farms, and by structural parameters, such as ensuring at least 3% of windows to provide natural light. The company has initiated a proactive implementation plan for corrective measures to achieve the targeted quota in a timely manner. With the introduction of the new Ranger classic genetics into conventional ECC sheds, Fileni expresses confidence in meeting the specified 2026 objectives.

Overcoming Challenges and Continued Progress
External factors such as the changing geopolitical situation have led to some adjustments, but Fileni has managed to achieve its targets for the end of 2023.

Thanks to planning based on the experience of the past two years, Fileni is confident that it will be able to achieve all the targets stated in the second phase of the roadmap for its conventional production.

Ongoing staff training and the implementation of a monitoring and digitisation system for data such as environmental parameters and animal welfare indicators are underway, facilitating the analysis of farm information that will allow an objective evaluation of the benefits of the BCC transition in terms of welfare.



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