The module provides a ready-made third-party audit for companies signing up to the Better Chicken Commitment and allows them to differentiate their higher welfare chicken from standard production.
Underpinned by the safety and traceability benefits of Red Tractor, the Enhanced Welfare for Chicken module includes the following criteria:
- A slower growing chicken breed
- Natural light and environmental enrichment to encourage natural behaviours like pecking, scratching, wing flapping and use of perches
- More space to live, with a reduction in the number of birds that are allowed in the barns (reducing stocking density from 38kg/m² to 30kg/m²)
To date over 50 companies in the UK have signed up to the Better Chicken Commitment and Red Tractor recognised the need to develop a new module to help promote indoor reared higher welfare chicken.
Red Tractor CEO, Jim Moseley said: “Grounded in the values of the Red Tractor scheme - animal welfare, food safety, traceability and environmental protection – this is an important broadening of the scheme which for 20 years has, and continues, to transform and build trust in British farming and food quality. The new modular approach is supported by a clear and simple process, which could strip out some of the complexity from labels on pack and menus.”
Animal welfare labelling is important for consumers to understand the provenance of their food. The Enhanced Welfare label not only provides BCC signatories with the much needed visual identity to promote their higher welfare chicken but it will enable consumers to more easily understand the welfare credentials of the chicken they buy.
The Enhanced Welfare module has been developed in consultation with Compassion and other industry experts, producers and key stakeholders in retail and foodservice.
Tracey Jones, Director of Food Business at Compassion in World Farming said: “We are delighted with the introduction of the Red Tractor Enhanced Welfare module and marque for indoor chicken which meets the requirements of the Better Chicken Commitment.
“It is an important enabler for companies who want to source to this standard and the marque provides a clear visual identity which, along with the free range and organic labels, allows consumers to understand how their chicken was produced and make informed choices.
“The Enhanced Welfare module will undoubtedly help companies across all sectors uplift their auditing and promote their higher welfare credentials to their customers.”
With over 90% of chickens in the UK being reared indoors this new module has the potential to raise the bar for millions of chickens in future.
Look out for the Enhanced Welfare label which is already available in a limited number of retail outlets but will shortly be rolled out across the country.