04 November 2016

WELFARE - Industry Changes Will Help 60 Million Chickens Per Year

Global Alliance Partnerships (GAP) announced their first-ever partnership with a major food service company that will result in improving the lives of approximately 60 million broiler chickens per year.

Compass Group USA has committed to healthier, slower growing strains of chickens, improved living conditions and more humane slaughter, by pledging to ensure certification under GAP’s 5-Step Animal Welfare Rating program for all broiler chickens as a buying requirement across 100 percent of their business by 2024.

Compass has also agreed that, by 2024, all broilers in its supply chain be rendered unconscious prior to shackling using a method of Controlled Atmosphere Killing.

Rick Post, COO Compass Group USA, said, “This partnership underscores our Envision 2020 principles and creates positive impact for people, animals and the planet while balancing social, environmental and ethical responsibility with commercial success. Very simply, it’s just the right thing to do.”

Another major food supply company took steps towards more humane conditions for broiler chickens with Aramark asking its suppliers to take the following actions by 2024, or sooner if possible:
  • Transitioning to strains of birds that measurably improve welfare issues associated with fast growth rates per Global Animal Partnership’s (GAP) standards.
  • Reducing maximum stocking density to equal to/less than 6 lbs./sq. ft. per GAP standards.
  • Providing chickens with enriched environments including natural light, hay bales and perches that meet GAP standards.
  • Evaluating with animal welfare organizations over the next year issues related to litter quality, lighting, air quality, and other environmental conditions.
  • Rendering chickens unconscious prior to shackling using Controlled or Low Atmosphere Stunning.

"Aramark’s announcement is a transformational shift for the treatment of chickens in its supply chain. We’re very pleased to work with Aramark to help create this important commitment, which demonstrates yet again how seriously the company takes animal welfare,” said Josh Balk, Vice President of Farm Animal Protection, Humane Society of the United States (HSUS).

These changes in the food supply industry are in response to consumers’ increased awareness of where their food comes from and how it’s raised.

There has been more public pressure for cage-free or free run eggs and many animal organizations have voiced concerns about the welfare of chickens, not only living in less than ideal environments, but the general health of the fast-growing birds.

The improvements made by Aramark and Compass Group USA also reflect the move towards what is perceived as healthier meat, as many consumers look for and restaurants source meat that is antibiotic and hormone free.

Leah Garces, US Executive Director of Compassion in World Farming and GAP Board member said, “When Compass, the largest food service company in the world, says enough is enough, chickens need a better life, we know we are at a tipping point. An avalanche is coming towards the chicken industry which they cannot afford to ignore.”

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