tvenBroiler Chicken Welfare Partnership and Donation Program


90% of the 10 billion animals slaughtered for food annually in the US are chickens.[1] This proposal focuses on broiler chickens with the intention that a similar framework can be adapted to other livestock.

The Better Chicken Commitment (BCC), launched in 2020 by the Global Animal Partnership (GAP), is an initiative in which food companies commit to sourcing chicken from GAP-certified farms meeting the five following evidence-based standards: (1) Maximum stocking density of 6.0 lbs./sq. foot, (2) Provides enriched environments, (3) Utilizes a multi-step controlled-atmosphere processing system, (4) Complies with standards via third-party auditing, (5) Adopts breeds that demonstrate higher welfare outcomes.[2]

Over 200 food companies have signed the BCC, yet little progress has been made toward fulfillment.[3] Although the number of GAP-certified farms is growing, their higher costs and lower volumes would likely require food companies to either increases prices, thus driving customers to cheaper alternatives, or accept profit loss.[4]

Nonetheless, the shift to BCC standards gained momentum last August when the seven BCC-committed companies Aramark, Compass Group, Nestlé USA, Panera Bread, Shake Shack, Sodexo, and Target partnered with Compassion in World Farming and Blue House Sustainability Consulting to form the US Working Group for Broiler Welfare.[5] The Group seeks to explore and share strategies for transitioning chicken supply chains to meet BCC standards.

RISC Solution

I propose a two-part solution: 1) partner with the US Working Group for Broiler Welfare, and 2) implement a Better Chicken donation program, loosely modeled after the Green Gas Movement.

Partnership with the Working Group would maximize RISC’s potential impact— the major companies are willing to experiment with innovative strategies to meet BCC standards, and company solidarity will create substantial market leverage.

A Better Chicken donation program would be loosely based on the Green Gas Movement, a fast-growing non-profit in which consumers can make a $1 donation at designated gas pumps to offset carbon emissions.[6] A BCC-adapted version of this program would include a donation option for customers in participating restaurants (for example, a Panera order prompts customers to donate). Optional BCC donations would harness the willpower of change-seeking individuals without driving uninterested customers to cheaper competitors. Donations would be invested into partnerships with GAP-certified chicken farms, helping to cover higher costs, strengthening farm infrastructure and capabilities, and increasing market demand for GAP-certified farms.

[1] “US Broiler Chicken Welfare”, 2019

[2] “The Better Chicken Commitment Policy.” Better Chicken Commitment. Accessed October 14, 2021.

[3] Turkheimer, Jeanne. “Fast-Food Brands' Chicken Welfare Standards Shockingly Low In New Global Ranking.” PR Newswire. January 15, 2020.

[4] Utnik-Banaś, Katarzyna, Janusz Żmija, and Elżbieta Sowula-Skrzyñska. “Economic Aspects of Reducing Stocking Density in Broiler Chicken Production Using the Example of Farms in Southern Poland.” Annals of Animal Science 14, no. 3 (2014): 663–71.

[5] Camron, Victoria. “Nonprofit Brings Food Companies Together to Improve Broiler Chicken Welfare.” New Hope Network (blog), August 6, 2021.

[6] Oller, Samatha. “Fight Climate Change at the Gas Pump?” CSP Daily News, March 15, 2019.

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