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Leading food, retail brands announce US Working Group for Broiler Welfare

Seven companies working with Compassion in World Farming to improve welfare standards.

Seven leading food and restaurant companies—Aramark, Compass Group, Nestlé USA, Panera Bread, Shake Shack, Sodexo and Target—have come together to form the US Working Group for Broiler Welfare. 

The US Working Group for Broiler Welfare, facilitated by animal rights group Compassion in World Farming and Blue House Sustainability Consulting, aims to support members in exploring workable strategies and creative solutions for transitioning supply chains through the lens of the welfare standards outlined in the Better Chicken Commitment.  

The Better Chicken Commitment requires chicken suppliers to meet the following requirements for 100% of products by 2024:

  1. Maximum stocking density of 6.0 lbs./sq. foot and prohibit broiler cages.
  2. Provide birds enriched environments including litter, lighting, and enrichment that meets Global Animal Partnership’s standards.
  3. Process chickens in a manner that avoids pre-stun handling and instead utilizes a multi-step controlled-atmosphere processing system that induces an irreversible stun.
  4. Demonstrate compliance with all standards via third-party auditing.

By 2026, the standards require that suppliers adopt breeds that demonstrate higher welfare outcomes, including Hubbard Black, JA757, 787, 957, or 987; Rambler Ranger, Ranger Classic, or Ranger Gold; or others that meet the criteria of the RSPCA Broiler Breed Welfare Assessment Protocol or Global Animal Partnership (GAP).

“I am thrilled to join the Working Group as we push to improve broiler chicken welfare across the industry. Shake Shack’s focus on premium ingredients, thoughtful sourcing and animal welfare has always been core to who we are,” said Jeffrey Amoscato, senior vice president of Supply Chain & Menu Innovation at Shake Shack. “We’re looking forward to learning from and collaborating with our peers to better understand barriers and potential solutions for accelerating improvements more broadly.”  

Judy Panayos, senior director sustainability for Sodexo, commented, “As this working group aligns with Sodexo’s global animal welfare position, we embrace the opportunity to work collectively to improve broiler chicken welfare and foster better engagement with the industry as a whole.”

Sara Burnett, vice president of Food Values, Sustainability and Public Affairs at Panera Bread, said bringing restaurant leaders together in the working group “will help us collaborate and innovate across all parts of this important transition—from impacts on farmers to measurement of animal care.”

She added, “These discussions will help us as we continually strive to provide responsibly raised proteins.” 

Over 200 brands in the United States have committed to improve welfare standards in alignment with the Better Chicken Commitment, which sets a baseline welfare standard for breed selection, space allocation, environmental enrichments, slaughter method, and third-party auditing.   

TAGS: Business
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