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Major food chains are ignoring the welfare of chickens as their profits continue to rise

Major food chains are ignoring the welfare of chickens as their profits continue to rise

A detailed report by the NGO World Animal Protection reveals how large global companies turn a blind eye to improving the lives of chickens.

World Animal Protection has decided to investigate the policies of the largest fast food chains in the world in order to find out how much importance they place on the welfare of the chickens that are then sold as feed. For it, made the report "Ranking of companies on the welfare of chickens", the first international ranking on the welfare of chickens that have been raised for consumption.

It contemplates the analysis of the companies McDonalds,Burger King, Starbucks, Subway, KFC, Domino’s Pizza Group, Domino’s Inc, Nando’s and Pizza Hut. Unfortunately, the results have been deeply troubling: None of these companies are taking this critical issue seriously, despite the thousands of daily sales they generate.

A short and unfair life

Very often, the reality behind the most consumed meat in the world (chicken) is an unacceptable suffering that increases at the same time that its demand grows.

Each year, about 40 billion broilers are raised for global consumption. But under what conditions?

Well, the reality is that two thirds of them live in overcrowded huts or in cages without natural light or fresh air, without being able to peck or stretch their wings, far from being able to live freely. Stainless steel cages, often stacked on top of each other, make it impossible for these intelligent animals to engage in natural behaviors such as exploring, dust bathing, or perching on high ground.

In addition, due to their exaggerated size and the speed with which they are raised, many suffer from:

  • Painful lameness.
  • Supercharged hearts and lungs.
  • Wounds, including sores and skin burns.

As if all this weren't enough, they have no choice but to sit or stand in their own waste, before being euthanized at the short age of five weeks. This is why broilers are not raised for a healthy and happy life. In order to visualize crowding more clearly, it can be said that on average, two chickens have to share the space equivalent to a sheet of letter-size paper, which makes them practically unable to move during their short lives.

Actions for a happier future

World Animal Protection has launched the ranking as part of its “Cambia por los Pollos” campaign, which seeks to challenge the fast food industry to stop cruelty and suffering in chicken meat production around the world, as well as make companies commit to sourcing and working with higher welfare farms, rather than intensive production farms.

The companies were evaluated through public information available in three areas: interest, through policies (how important is the welfare of the chickens to the company); ambition, through objectives and goals (the promises that a company has made to improve the life of chickens); Y transparency, through performance reports (how clear the company is about delivering on its promises).

The main findings of the "Ranking of companies on the welfare of Chickens" are:

  • Alarmingly, none of the fast food chains have a comprehensive policy to improve the welfare of chickens. In most areas, chickens are not even guaranteed to be cruelly slaughtered.
  • Neither company receives a rating better than "poor."
  • Only three of the nine companies (Burger King, Starburcks, and Subway) have shown interest and ambition in tackling the main problems facing free range chickens. However, all commitments are limited to one opais region.
  • Four companies: –McDonald’s, KFC, Pizza Hut and Nando’s were rated as having very poor welfare with chickens.
  • Domino’s Inc and Domino’s PLC received a “failing” rating.
  • Transparency is universally poor, as all companies provide little or no information to show their performance when it comes to chicken welfare.

World Animal Protection's "Change for the Chickens" campaign urges the food industry to commit with global policy changesthat improve the welfare of millions of chickens. In particular, companies are expected to:

  • Use chicken breeds that grow at a healthier rate.
  • Make sure the chickens have enough room to behave more naturally. Cages should never be used.
  • Offer chickens the opportunity to enjoy natural behaviors through enrichment, including perches or platforms, pecking items, natural lighting, and high-quality bedding.
  • Ensure chickens are slaughtered using more humane methods, avoiding live shackles, and rendering all animals unconscious prior to slaughter.

A reality that leaves much to be desired

Today, it is estimated that around the world, 40 billion chickens each year are subject to significant cruelty on intensive production farms. They are given about 40 days of life until they are slaughtered, when they are still effectively babies. During this time, they live in dark, crowded, and sterile places, as described above. They grow with little or no regard as living animals that breathe.

In addition, they are genetically selected to develop fast in an unnatural way, which puts great pressure on your heart, lungs and legs. As a result, they often live their entire lives with chronic pain, lameness problems, skin lesions, and even heart failure.

But fortunately, food companies that continue to turn a blind eye to this cruelty are under increasing pressure to change their methods.. World Animal Protection will review the ranking of companies each year to monitor the progress of the major fast food brands.

Jonty Whittleton, Campaign Manager for World AnimalProtection, argues that “the scores are there and they don't look very good for some of the world's biggest fast food brands when it comes to chicken welfare. These iconic companies must respond to growing consumer concerns about cruelty to chickens, using their immense power to improve the lives of hundreds of millions of animals. Using tools like the Chicken Welfare Companies Ranking, we will continue to pressure these companies to switch to chickens.”.

"There is no excuse for the pain, fear and stress they feel on these intensively produced farms for most of their lives. Thousands of millions of chickens never have the opportunity to see sunlight, grow at a natural rate or behave. as they would in nature. Most brands, including those featured in the report, benefit from this pain. These companies have the power to change this situation (…) This is not much to ask for ”.

By joining the campaign, spreading the word among your colleagues, informing you about which brands you consume and opting for those that produce chickens under ethically responsible welfare conditions, you can help put an end to this secret suffering. You add up?

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