Waitrose joins the likes of Marks & Spencer, Nestlé and Knorr in signing the Better Chicken Commitment, which features a number of key requirements to improve animal welfare standards for chickens.
Some of these include agreeing to increase chicken welfare standards across the supply chain by 2026, ensuring chickens are provided with natural light and more space, as well as adopting humane methods of slaughter.
The move has been welcomed by UK animal welfare charity the RSPCA, which said other major retailers, such as Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda, Aldi, Lidl, Co-op and Morrisons, should follow Waitrose’s example.
RSPCA’s chicken welfare specialist Kate Parkes said the move by Waitrose was another “great step” for chickens and consumers.
“We are really pleased that, now, two of the country’s best-known supermarkets have jumped on board with this very important initiative, and we are hopeful that it will give their competitors the wake-up call they need to realise that animal welfare cannot go on being ignored,” said Parkes.
“Though some supermarkets may offer a high-welfare option, this commitment is calling on them to raise the welfare of chickens across their supply. Of course, we would like to see all supermarkets adopt RSPCA standards, but the Better Chicken Commitment is a great step in the right direction for animal welfare.”
According to the RSPCA, chicken meat is produced more than any other farm animal in the UK, with over 1 billion reared every year.
The UK charity also revealed a poll that showed that more than eight out of 10 people (86%), who bought chicken meat, expected supermarkets to ensure that all chicken meat they sold was farmed to higher welfare standards (Kantar TNS January 2018).