A QUARTER of the UK’s poultrymeat supply chain is signed up to rearing birds in line with Better Chicken Commitment (BCC) standards, according to new analysis.
The Humane League, an animal rights charity, said its report showed the foodservice sector, restaurants and meal kit companies were broadly supportive of the move to slower-grown broilers.
But it said that supermarkets were proving ‘resistant’ to change, with just Marks & Spencer and Waitrose having pledged so far.
Other retailers say that they are introducing lines that meet the BCC standard but want to give consumers a choice.
The Humane League’s report says that more than 210 UK and EU companies are signed up to the Better Chicken Commitment, which means they will adopt the more extensive production standards by 2026.
That represents a quarter of the UK’s chicken supply, the charity said.
It also estimated that 5% of chicken sold in supermarkets is BCC-compliant.
Vicky Bond, managing director of The Humane League UK, said: “Historically, supermarkets have often been the first in the industry to implement measures to advance animal welfare.
“Now, they are lagging behind, with companies known for value prices like KFC and Greggs leading the way.
“Higher chicken welfare is the future, and in dragging their heels, supermarkets are seriously out of step with the direction of the food industry and public sentiment.”
She added that the charity and others would maintain pressure on businesses that had not yet adopted the BCC and pointed to France, where all major retailers are signed up.
“I believe that the momentum we are seeing now with companies committing to the Better Chicken Commitment is mirroring the cage-free revolution that took place five years ago when waves of companies finally committed to eradicating cages for laying hens.
“We must hold supermarkets accountable and ensure they all commit to the Better Chicken Commitment.“
More than 190,000 people have signed a petition by TV presenter Chris Packham calling on retailers to adopt the BCC standards.
The full report can be found at this link: http://thl.link/2021-state-of-chicken