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More than one fifth of companies reporting progress toward the Better Chicken Commitment, U.S. ChickenTrack report shows

Press Release Section Icon 3/28/2024

Twenty-two percent of companies that have signed up to the North American Better Chicken Commitment (BCC) are publicly reporting their progress, the fifth U.S. ChickenTrack report, released today, shows.

The U.S. ChickenTrack report was launched in 2020 to help drive compliance, encourage transparency and support the successful transition to higher welfare chicken by holding companies accountable for their commitment to the BCC.

To date, over 230 companies have signed up to the BCC in the U.S., committing to offer their customers only higher welfare products from healthier, happier chickens. This includes retailers, restaurants, manufacturers, chicken producers, and food service and hospitality businesses in the U.S., such as Applegate, Blue Apron, Blue Sushi Sake Grill, Chipotle, Elior North America, Giant Eagle, HelloFresh, Open Farm, Panera Bread, Perdue Farms, Pret A Manger, Shake Shack and Unilever.

Nine companies have made progress across all tenets of the BCC, including breed, since ChickenTrack 2022: Applegate, Campfire Treats, Compass Group, Delaware North, Evermore Pet Food, HelloFresh, Marley Spoon, Natural Grocers and Open Farm.

This year’s report includes an overview of a working paper commissioned by Compassion in World Farming to examine mitigation strategies related to sustainability for broiler production. Titled, “Impact Mitigation Strategies for Higher-Welfare Broiler Production,” this paper offers insights on how to reduce the environmental impact of raising higher-welfare broiler chickens and how companies can uphold and achieve both their animal welfare and sustainability goals.

ChickenTrack 2023 reports on the progress of 52 companies all assessed on their progress towards implementing the full package of science-based criteria needed to significantly improve the lives of broiler chickens. These include giving the chickens more space to live, enrichments to rest and play, undertaking humane slaughter methods, and most importantly, using slower-growing breeds, which is vital for their welfare.

Some Key Insights from ChickenTrack 2023:

  • The number of companies reporting on their progress has increased by approximately 27% from 2022.
  • 17 companies are reporting for the first time in 2023, including Delaware North, WOWorks, and Peet's Coffee.
  • Pet food companies Campfire Treats and Evermore Pet Food are the only two companies to achieve full compliance with the BCC in North America, and 32 companies report 100% compliance against at least one criterion.

“Once we understood the scale of factory farming, it became clear to us that our initial goal was not far-reaching enough. We urgently needed to make animal welfare a priority as well,” said Campfire Treats President and Co-Founder Marko Wittich. “Accepting the suffering of farm animals to feed the animals we have invited into our families is simply not an option. We can and must do better.”

Globally, an estimated 70 billion chickens are slaughtered annually for meat, with over two-thirds being fast-growing breeds raised in barren, overcrowded sheds, and this number is continuing to rise. Breeding for fast growth to increase production brings with it numerous health risks for chickens, such as heart defects, organ failure, compromised immune systems and musculoskeletal problems. This further exacerbates the suffering experienced when chickens are unable to exhibit natural behaviors such as perching, pecking, foraging, and playing, resulting in a poor quality of life from start to finish.

Through ChickenTrack, Compassion in World Farming aims to motivate progressive food companies to make a pledge to take tangible steps to improve the lives of the chickens in their supply chain, and to inspire others to follow suit, making higher welfare chicken the industry norm.

Julia Johnson, U.S. Head of Food Business for Compassion in World Farming said: “In the United States, chickens raised for meat are reared at such an immense scale that incremental changes can significantly impact billions of chickens. More than 140 million birds are set to benefit from Compassion in World Farming’s U.S. Working Group for Broiler Welfare alone. It is inspiring to see more companies reporting progress on their chicken policies, especially the two companies that are fully compliant with the BCC, demonstrating that change for chickens is possible. Through ChickenTrack, we know that progress is increasing every year, and Compassion in World Farming will continue to support all companies until the baseline for chickens is raised, ensuring a more humane food system.”

For more information, please email madison.longenecker@ciwf.org or call 678-902-2493.

ChickenTrack 2023:

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