There’s growing momentum in the movement for improved broiler welfare.
It started a few weeks ago with the announcement that Compassion in World Farming had launched the US Working Group for Broiler Welfare. The initiative brings together seven food and restaurant companies—Aramark, Compass Group, Nestlé USA, Panera Bread, Shake Shack, Sodexo, and Target—to explore workable strategies and creative solutions for transitioning supply chains through the lens of the Better Chicken Commitment.
Then, last week, Sprouts Farmers Market announced that it would implement a phased approach to sourcing higher welfare chicken, following two years of discussion with Compassion. With more than 360 stores across 23 states, Sprouts’ announcement sets a strong example for the industry. At the same time, Kroger also announced that it would be taking steps to limit stocking densities, provide enrichments, implement more humane slaughter methods, and bring in third-party auditors.
And just this week, Natural Grocers, with 159 stores across 20 states, announced that it too was signing the Better Chicken Commitment. For a few years now, Compassion’s technical experts have been talking with Natural Grocers’ Standards team about the opportunities and challenges that come with committing to provide higher welfare chicken to their customers.
What’s behind this sudden surge in progress for chickens? For one thing, it’s not all that sudden. All the companies that have recently taken steps to improve conditions for broiler chickens have been considering the issues for some time. Rather than make a commitment blindly and working out later on how they’re going to implement it, these later adopters have taken the time to better understand the opportunities and challenges that come with sourcing higher welfare chicken. This approach is indicative of companies that want to deliver on their promises.
So what happens from here? We’re looking forward to the continued development of the Broiler Welfare Working Group and the dialogue that it has fostered about reinforcing the science behind the Better Chicken Commitment and the supply chain shifts necessary to enable higher welfare standards. We hope that all of these recent announcements will encourage others who want to improve broiler chickens’ quality of life but aren’t sure how to take the next step. Compassion’s Food Business team is happy to connect with and support any company looking to understand the Better Chicken Commitment and how they can improve broiler welfare in their supply chain.