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Global fast food companies in the crosshairs for substandard animal welfare

14 January 2019, at 12:00a.m.

GLOBAL - World Animal Protection released a ranking of the world's largest fast food groups' poultry welfare standards in a call for better treatment of the most consumed animal protein across the globe

The report named Burger King, Domino's Pizza Group, Domino's Inc, KFC, McDonald's, Nando's, Pizza Hut, Starbucks and Subway in their assessment, which is part of WAP's Change for Chickens campaign, which "is challenging the fast-food industry to stop the cruelty and suffering in meat chicken production worldwide by committing to source from higher-welfare farms rather than factory farms."

The latter companies were each rated as "poor, very poor, or failing" for animal welfare and were assessed against publicly available information on three areas: interest, via policies (how important the welfare of chickens is to the company); ambition, via objectives and targets (the promises a company has made to improve chicken's lives); and transparency, via performance reporting (how clear the comapny is about living up to its promises). Click here to read the full report from World Animal Protection.

World Animal Protection’s Change for Chickens campaign urges the food industry to commit to global policy changes that will improve the welfare of r billions of chickens. In particular, companies are expected to:

  • Use chicken breeds that grow at a healthier rate.
  • Ensure that chickens have the space to behave more naturally. Cages must never be used.
  • Give chickens the opportunity to enjoy natural behaviours via enrichment – including perches or platforms and pecking objects – natural lighting and high-quality bedding. .
  • Ensure that chickens are slaughtered using more humane methods that avoid live shackling and render all animals unconscious before slaughter.

Jonty Whittleton, Global Campaign Head at World Animal Protection says: “The scores are in and it’s not looking good for some of the world’s largest fast-food brands when it comes to chicken welfare. These iconic companies must respond to growing consumer concerns over chicken cruelty, using their immense power to improve the lives of hundreds of millions of animals. Using tools such as The Pecking Order, we will continue to put pressure on these companies to change for chickens.

“There is no excuse for the pain, fear and stress that a factory farmed chicken feels for much of their life. Billions of chickens never get the chance to see sunlight, to grow at a natural rate or behave as they would do in the wild. Major brands, including those featured in The Pecking Order, profit from this pain. They hold the power to turn this situation around and there is a growing consumer concern that they must do so. Chickens are at the very heart of their businesses and deserve the chance to live a happier, healthier life. That’s not too much to ask.”