We applaud Nestlé USA on commitment to improve broiler chicken welfare
Nestlé is the most recent food and beverage company to commit to improving the lives of broiler chickens in the United States.
The Nestlé USA commitment includes critical and much-needed animal welfare measures, such as transitioning to slower-growing chicken breeds, providing birds with more space, and offering improved living environments with natural lighting and enrichments, by 2024.
“We congratulate Nestlé USA on this commitment to significantly improve the lives of millions of chickens in the United States. As the world’s largest food company, Nestlé has the power to make large-scale changes to improve the lives of farm animals," says Dr. Martin Cooke, our International Head of Corporate Engagement.
“We are pleased to have worked with Nestlé in helping to develop the company’s animal welfare guidelines, and we look forward to following the company’s progress as they implement these transformative changes for the chickens in their supply chain."
Restaurant Brands International, Aramark, Compass Group USA, and other major food companies have also announced commitments in the past year to improve the welfare of broiler chickens, signalling a wider movement to improve the lives of chickens farmed for meat.
We partnered with Nestlé in 2014, and for the duration of the collaboration worked together to grow Nestlé’s expertise on farm animal welfare as a vital part of the company’s responsible sourcing strategy. Nestlé USA previously announced a commitment to source only cage-free eggs by 2020 as ingredients for its U.S. food products.
We have long advocated the changes for chickens to which Nestlé has now committed and we work with food businesses and suppliers around the world to advise on animal welfare policies and their implementation.
On average, sixty billion meat chickens, known as broiler chickens, are raised for global consumption each year. An estimated two-thirds of these animals (40 billion) live in overcrowded sheds with little or no natural light or fresh air and are unable to perform many natural behaviors, such as foraging, perching, and dustbathing.
Many chickens will experience painful conditions including lameness (difficulty walking) and suffer overworked hearts and lungs because of unnatural growth rate, as well as wounds like skin sores and burns from spending too long in wet, poorly managed litter.
By committing to practical improvements that directly address these severe animal welfare problems, food companies can transform the welfare of the chickens in their supply chain.
Through our Change for Chickens campaign, we're calling on food retailers to improve the welfare of the billions of chickens farmed for meat around the world. We call for:
- The use of chickens that are bred to have better welfare.
- More living space for chickens
- Enrichments for chickens to engage with and explore, such as perches and hay bales
- The introduction of natural light in sheds
Top image: A broiler chicken at the Food Animal Initiative (FAI) farm in Wytham, United Kingdom, where chickens have access to the outdoors and extra perching space so the young birds can exercise, dust bathe, preen and scratch.