Chicken on a farm, Victoria, Australia

The world moves ahead, Australian food companies stagnate?

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Over 500 leading food companies across the US, UK, Europe and New Zealand have committed to using slower-growing breeds of chickens to reduce chicken suffering, while only one Australian fast-food company has done so thus far.

Image credit: Misssheep

Our upcoming report, ‘Fast Food, Slow Progress,’ sounds the alarm on Australian fast-food companies lagging behind the rest of the world when it comes to chicken welfare.

It shines a light on the power as well as the responsibility these companies have towards improving the lives of the chickens in their supply chain. It also emphasises that the increasing concerns for animal welfare can affect future demand for chicken meat, as stated in a 2021 market insight report by Agrifutures Australia.

The suffering chickens bred for their meat endure could be reduced if Australian fast-food companies followed their counterparts in the US, UK, Europe and New Zealand by signing the Better Chicken Commitment (BCC), which is a global set of best practices for chicken welfare.

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Molly Tamulevich

Molly Tamulevich, Food Systems Campaign Manager, World Animal Protection ANZ

Chickens are being bred to grow so fast their bodies can’t keep up. They pay the price for the greed of food companies who turn a blind eye to the suffering in their supply chain.

Companies that use animals have an obligation to give them the best possible life and switching to slower growing breeds is the best way to achieve this.

More than 700 million chickens are killed for meat in Australia every year, a majority of whom are bred to grow at such an unnaturally accelerated rate that their lungs, heart and legs can’t keep up. This is equivalent to a 3 kg human baby reaching 300 kg in less than two months. 

Signing this commitment would help ensure that Australian food companies switch to breeds that grow at a slower and more natural pace. While this does not mean that factory farms would be good for the welfare of animals, a switch to slower-growing breeds could alleviate some of the worst animal welfare concerns on industrial chicken farms.

The switch, when combined with additional welfare improvements to accommodate their growth rate, would be the single most impactful way to improve the lives of hundreds of millions of meat chickens in Australia.

Broiler chicken in Victoria, Australia

Credit: Bear Witness Australia

Businesses that use animals in their supply chains have an obligation to continuously reevaluate, reassess and improve their business model to improve the welfare of those animals. So far, Domino’s is the only fast-food company in Australia who has signed the BCC.

While the rest of the world moves forward by incorporating the tenets of the BCC, it is inexcusable for Australian fast-food companies to continue profiting from the suffering of chickens.

Together, we can give every chicken a life worth living.

Animals in farming

More than 80 billion land-based farm animals are eaten every year. Most are cruelly confined to industrial, low-welfare food systems.

Factory farming inflicts pain on billions of animals

Factory farming

We need to break the cycle of suffering in our global food system as it is not healthy for anyone.

Call on KFC Australia to give chickens better lives

Call on KFC to sign the Better Chicken Commitment and put a stop to the cruelty chickens experience.

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