Earth Animal signs Better Chicken Commitment
Earth Animal is taking yet another step in its commitment to animal welfare by signing The Better Chicken Commitment (BCC) in cooperation with international farm animal welfare organization Compassion in World Farming. Earth Animal joins 220 companies in the human food space and is just the 5thsignatory in the pet food industry to commit.
“We believe that all animals deserve to live a good life, and therefore we have a fundamental responsibility to protect and advocate for the animals in our families and those that are born, raised, and slaughtered for our pet foods and other pet products,” says Earth Animal co-founder Susan Goldstein. “We adopted the pet industry’s first comprehensive Animal Welfare Framework in 2022 where we committed to setting objectives and targets to improve the welfare of animals in our supply chain. Because chicken is our most used protein, the BCC is the logical first step in actively promoting animal welfare throughout our source ingredients.”
The Better Chicken Commitment is a science-based chicken welfare policy developed by a group of animal welfare organizations–the ASPCA (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals), CIWF (Compassion in World Farming), HSUS (Humane Society of the United States) and Mercy for Animals, amongst others. The standards address animal welfare issues related to breeding for fast growth and high yield, housing conditions, stocking density and slaughter. While Earth Animal has used only GAP-certified poultry in its food, the BCC adds specific time-bound commitments to improving its chicken supply.
“The ASPCA conducted a survey in the first 6 months of COVID demonstrating that the more consumers know about the horrors of the industrial farming model, the more interested they are in changing their consumption habits,” says Stewart Shanley, Earth Animal’s CEO. “We are proud to be a pioneer in the pet industry by providing pet parents more humane options.”
“Chickens raised for meat, also known as broiler chickens, make up approximately 95% of the farm animals in our food system. Over nine billion are raised and slaughtered each year in the United States,” said Julia Johnson, senior food business manager, Compassion in World Farming USA. “By announcing their pledge to the Better Chicken Commitment, Earth Animal is demonstrating that they care about the quality of life these chickens have, as well as transparency to their customers about their own elevated sourcing standards.”
Compassion USA’s food business managers and animal welfare specialists are working with companies like Earth Animal to raise the standard of chicken welfare throughout the U.S. and worldwide. To help improve the lives of animals raised for food, the charity publishes reports—EggTrack and ChickenTrack—that track companies’ progress in both the broiler chicken and laying hen industries, ensuring transparency in the marketplace for consumers. The U.S. Working Group for Broiler Welfare, also co-hosted by Compassion USA, supports and brings together leading food businesses by exploring workable strategies and creative solutions for transitioning supply chains through the welfare standards outlined in the BCC.
In accordance with the BCC, by 2024, Earth Animal will require its chicken suppliers to meet the following requirements for 100% of their products:
· Maximum stocking density of 6.0lbs/ft2 and prohibit broiler cages.
· Provide birds enriched environments including litter, lighting and enrichment that meets the Global Animal Partnership’s standards.
· Process chickens in a manner that avoids pre-stun handling and instead utilizes a multi-step controlled-atmosphere processing system that induces an irreversible stun
· Demonstrate compliance with all standards via third-party auditing
And, by 2026, they must adopt breeds that demonstrate higher welfare outcomes that meet the criteria of the RSPCA Broiler Breed Welfare Assessment Protocol or Global Animal Partnership (GAP).