ANIMAL welfare charity Compassion in World Farming has challenged British retailers who have cut broiler stocking densities but have not signed up to the full Better Chicken Commitment (CIWF).

The second ChickenTrack report looks at the poultry procurement of 85 food businesses across eight European countries.

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It is modelled on a similar report from CIWF that tracks companies’ progress towards cage-free egg sourcing.

Of the 85 companies included in ChickenTrack, the highest proportion committed to the BCC is in France (a total of 28, of which 20 are reporting on their transition progress) and all major retailers in France have signed up to the BCC.

The United Kingdom comes second with 18 companies committed, of which 10 are reporting on transition progress, including TGI Fridays (UK) and Premier Foods PLC, both of which are reporting for the first time.

Stocking density

However, the report notes that retailers in the UK have not in the large part signed up, with many instead opting to lower stocking densities.
Only M&S and Waitrose have made the pledge (with M&S now selling 100% BCC-compliant fresh chicken – Waitrose is yet to switch to a slower-growing breed).

Dr Tracey Jones, Global Director for Food Business at Compassion said: “It is encouraging to see an increase in companies working to deliver on their commitments and reporting on their transition progress.

“Company sign-ups to the BCC are an essential first step to improving the lives of millions of chickens raised for meat.

“However, only when the full package of changes is made will chickens start to feel the benefits and the company can say its products are higher welfare.”

The full report is available here.