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Five percent of chicken on supermarket shelves meets the Better Chicken Commitment

An estimated 30 million chickens per year are raised to BCC standards, raising the supply of higher welfare chickens.

2 June 2020, at 7:35am

The Better Chicken Commitment (BCC) is a set of criteria for improving the lives of chickens raised for meat, called broiler chickens. These standards were agreed by a group of leading animal protection organisations including the RSPCA, Compassion in World Farming, World Animal Protection and The Humane League UK in 2018.

By prohibiting the use of fast-growing breeds, allowing more space and better living conditions, the BCC eliminates some of the very worst problems inherent in the factory farming of chickens.

Vicky Bond, Managing Director at The Humane League UK, said: “The BCC represents a viable and meaningful higher welfare alternative to standard intensive factory farming of chickens. ‘Conventional’ chickens are bred to put on so much weight, so quickly, that their bodies can’t cope, and they suffer from disease and welfare issues. They live a life of constant misery and pain.”

farmer with free range chickens

Chicken raised meeting the BCC criteria is now on the shelves of a range of supermarkets including Tesco, Waitrose, M&S and Aldi.

Both Waitrose and M&S are committed to meeting the BCC on all of heir own-brand chicken by 2026. However, Tesco, Aldi, Lidl, Sainsbury’s, Asda and Morrisons are still yet to fully commit.

“It’s essential for retailers to move with the times and accept that we are moving beyond conventional intensively reared chicken,” said Bond.

Around 1 billion broiler chickens are raised for meat every year in the UK. The vast majority of them are intensively reared, with free-range only accounting for around 3.5 percent of production.

The 5 percent estimate is based on the fact that 2 Sisters Food Group is producing at least 13 million BCC compliant birds a year, Tesco is reported to be producing 10.4 million BCC birds by this summer, and another 7 million are estimated to be in production from other retailers carrying out trials.

Over 100 companies in the UK and the EU have committed to the BCC, including KFC, Pret a Manger, and Nestlé.