RSPCA reports positive reaction to Better Chicken campaign
The RSPCA’s Better Chicken campaign has been backed by over 19,000 people, with respondents demanding their supermarket agree to only sell higher welfare chicken.
The RSPCA’s campaign aims to help retailers meet the Better Chicken Commitment’s minimum asks by 2026. This means providing meat chickens with more space, light and enrichment and ensuring they only use slower-growing, higher welfare breeds.
The campaign also aims to show the public how their purchasing decisions can make a positive difference to animal welfare.
What is the Better Chicken Commitment?
The Better Chicken Commitment (BCC) is a set of requirements for improving broiler welfare driving the food industry towards higher welfare practices. The key requirements are;
- Birds need to be given more room in order to have the chance to peck, scratch, dust bathe and rest without being disturbed
- Natural light must be provided, which means birds won’t spend their whole lives in dim, artificially lit conditions
- Provision of enrichment items, things that the birds can explore and peck at, as well as perches so birds can roost
- No cages or multi-tier systems
- More humane methods of slaughter – eliminating the shackling and inversion of conscious birds
- The use of only slower-growing breed of chickens which have better health and welfare outcomes.
Emily Harris, RSPCA campaign manager, said: “We’re absolutely thrilled that so many people have taken action to help improve the lives of chickens. Thousands of people have spoken and we believe retailers cannot ignore this clear message – the public wants their supermarkets to commit to selling higher welfare chicken.”
A recent poll carried out by the RSPCA found that 87% of the public expect supermarkets to ensure that all chicken meat they sell is farmed to higher welfare standards, however around 90% of the 1.1 billion chickens slaughtered for meat in the UK are fast-growing breeds. RSPCA said that this means they have been genetically selected to produce the maximum amount of meat in the shortest time at the cheapest price, leading to severe health and welfare issues.
“The public wants their supermarkets to commit to selling higher welfare chicken.”Emily Harris
The 2023 Animal Kindness Index – a survey from the RSPCA, Scottish SPCA and Northern Ireland-based USPCA – revealed that 72% of people believe chickens are sentient which means over a quarter of people believe chickens do not have the capacity to experience feelings – but the RSPCA hopes its Better Chicken campaign is raising awareness about the pain and suffering some chickens face.
The survey also revealed that 59% of people sometimes or always check labels to see how an animal has been farmed or kept before they buy animal products – while 67% of UK consumers say they always or sometimes buy higher welfare meat, eggs or dairy products.
Read more about the Better Chicken campaign here.