KFC joins the European Chicken Commitment
KFC - The first UK fast food chain to sign up to the European Chicken Commitment (“ECC”).
What is the “European Chicken Commitment”?
The 2026 European Chicken Commitment is an initiative that was introduced to improve the lives of all broiler chickens within the supply chain in the EU by 2026. A coalition of animal protection groups across the continent, including the RSPCA, World Animal Protection and Eurogroup for Animals, have agreed on a single set of welfare standards to govern poultry production. This follows concerns over inhumane conditions that predominate in the intensive large-scale production of chicken meat, such as over-crowding, over-breeding and the increasing use of “fast-growing” breeds that can collapse under their own weight.
What are the new requirements?
Food retailers and suppliers are now required to:
- comply with all EU animal welfare laws and regulations, regardless of where farming is taking place;
- use “slow-growing” breeds to promote welfare; and
- improve the environmental standards for their livestock.
How is this affecting the industry?
The aim is to encourage food retailers and suppliers to commit to raising welfare standards by 2026. Marks & Spencer was the first retailer to sign up to the ECC, followed by Waitrose, Danone, Nestlé as well as Unilever, whose commitment is even more impressive as it covers all it’s bouillons and soups, where chicken is only used for ingredients in its products and where Unilever’s power in the supply chain is limited.
KFC UK and Ireland (together with their divisions in Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium and Sweden) signed this month and are the first UK fast food chain to do so. By signing, the company has committed to investing in environment enrichment, including perches, pecking objects and natural daylight and the biggest step – a commitment towards only purchasing slower-growing, higher welfare breeds. They have promised to work closely with their suppliers in both the UK and Europe, in order to raise welfare standards by 2026. KFC was graded “very poor” by campaign group World Animal Protection for their animal welfare earlier this year, due to a lack of commitments, targets or published data.
As KFC is one of the largest fast food chain in the UK, it is hoped that this will put pressure on other fast food chains to follow suit. Supermarket and restaurant giants are also being encouraged to sign up.
This initiative will also have a positive impact on consumers, who will no longer have to worry about different labels used on chicken meat, like RSPCA Assured, Red Tractor, Free-range or Organic, as ECC chickens will be higher welfare.
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This article was prepared by Sophie Gladwell.