Nonprofit food companies strive to improve the welfare of broilers
Seven food and restaurant companies, as well as Compassion in Global Agriculture and Blue House Sustainability Consulting, created the U.S. Broiler Welfare Task Force, the organizations said on Tuesday.
The food and restaurant companies are Aramark, Compass Group, Nestlé USA, Panera Bread, Shake Shack, Sodexo and Target. The group plans to explore strategies to change the supply chain to improve the health and welfare of chickens in the food supply, meeting the standards of the Better Chicken Commitment. These strategies would then be shared with other companies that have subscribed to the commitment.
“Bringing restaurant chefs together on the working group will help us collaborate and innovate in all aspects of this important transition, from impacts on farmers to measuring animal care,” Sara Burnett, Vice President of Values food, sustainability and public affairs at Panera Bread, said in a statement announcing the creation of the Task Force. “These discussions will help us as we continually strive to deliver high protein responsibly. “
Between 1965 and 2012, the amount of chicken Americans eat per year increased by 238%, according to Compassion in World Farming. As a result, production increased and the chickens were treated very poorly.
Since November 2016, more than 200 American brands have aligned themselves with the Best Chicken Engagement, which establishes a baseline for breed selection, space allocation, environmental enrichments, slaughter methods and third party auditing.
While the typical lifespan of chickens is six years, they now live about six weeks before being slaughtered, reports the CIWF.
Improving the lives of chickens and humans
World Animal Protection recently released its third “Pecking order” report, which measures eight global fast food companies against the company’s own policies, such as the signing of the Better Chicken Commitment; the company’s targets to define its objectives and a timetable for achieving them; and the companies’ own reports on its progress.
The organization ranks companies’ scores in these areas and ranks them by level, with level 1 being the best and level 6 being the worst. None of the US companies classified in level 1 or 2. The companies in level 3, which means that they are progressing, were Starbucks, Subway, Burger King and McDonald’s. However, Starbucks and Subway have not released any public report on their progress, notes World Animal Protection.
KFC and Pizza Hut, both of which are owned by Yum! The brands, ranked in tier 6, very mediocre. The organization points out that the two companies are making progress on their commitments in the UK and Europe, but appear to be ignoring those promises in the United States. Nando’s and Domino’s Pizza both got 0% for not taking any action in favor of chicken welfare.
The Business Benchmark on Farm Animal Welfare report for 2020 found that food producers and manufacturers are doing more to improve animal welfare than retailers and wholesalers or restaurants and bars.