3 November – Today, Compass Group USA has become the first food service company to commit to 100% healthier, slower growing chicken by 2024, through a landmark partnership with the animal welfare certification program Global Animal Partnership.
This will be GAP’s first-ever partnership with a food service company and will result in improving the lives of approximately 60 million broiler chickens within Compass’ supply chain, each year.
Compass is agreeing to ensure certification under GAP’s 5-Step Animal Welfare Rating program for all broiler chickens as a buying requirement across 100 percent of their business by 2024.
Key areas of the standard will include:
- Using approved genetic strains and meeting criteria for any new strains, to be assessed
- Enrichments including hay bales, perches, and natural light
- Minimum space requirements (6lbs/square foot)
Compass has also stated that by 2024, all broilers in its supply chain must be rendered unconscious prior to shackling using a method of Controlled Atmosphere Killing. Compass will also annually benchmark its progress and publicly report on performance.
Rick Post, COO Compass Group USA, said: “This partnership underscores our Envision 2020 principles and creates the positive impact for people, animals and the planet while balancing social, environmental and ethical responsibility with commercial success. Very simply, it’s just the right thing to do.”
Anne Malleau, Executive Director of GAP said: “We are very proud to have this historic first-ever partnership with a food service company. We are committed to supporting Compass in this transition by providing training material, assistance, and benchmarking to help them reach their goals by 2024. It represents an extraordinary agreement.”
Earlier this year, GAP announced that they would create a new standard of approved strains of chickens with better welfare outcomes, including healthier breeds, by 2024. The standard also gives the birds natural light, more space and enrichments to encourage natural behaviour and better health.
Whole Foods Market simultaneously agreed to adhere to this standard for broilers by 2024, which is a major step forward for chicken welfare in North America and for which they received a Special Recognition Award from Compassion (in conjunction with GAP) at the Good Farm Animal Welfare Awards in June 2016.
Leah Garces, US Executive Director of Compassion in World Farming and GAP Board member said: “We applaud this historic announcement. When Compass, the largest food service company in the world, says enough is enough, chickens need a better life, we know we are at a tipping point. An avalanche is coming towards the chicken industry which they cannot afford to ignore.”
Read more about Compassion’s higher welfare standards for broilers here.