Fast food giants are failing chickens

16 January 2019

Who gives a cluck about chicken welfare? These global fast food giants surely don’t. Our international rating system shows you just how badly they’re failing.

Despite making billions from chickens, these global companies need to do much more to give them better lives. We assessed nine of the world’s most popular fast food chains on their global policies and actions towards improving the lives of the chickens they raise for meat – and the results were truly shocking.

32 day old broiler (meat) chickens in a commercial indoor system

We chose to assess these companies for The Pecking Order because they’re the big players in the industry and have the power, and the responsibility, to improve the lives of millions of chickens every year.

How does your favourite fast food rank?

Graph showing ranks for how well fast food restaurants treat their chickens

From our investigation we also learned these shocking facts:

  • Alarmingly, none of the fast-food chains have a global policy on improving chicken welfare. In most areas, chickens are not even guaranteed a humane slaughter.
  • Only three of the nine companies – Burger King, Starbucks and Subway ­– have demonstrated interest and ambition in addressing the main problems faced by factory farmed chickens. However, the commitments are all limited to one region or country.
  • Transparency is universally poor, with all companies providing little or no information to show how they are performing when it comes to chicken welfare.

Currently, it’s estimated that 40 billion chickens around the world each year are subjected to significant suffering in factory farms. They are given around 40 days to live until they are slaughtered. In that time, in many countries they live in crowded, barren, dark sheds. Grown with little consideration for them as living, breathing, inquisitive animals, they are genetically selected to develop unnaturally fast, which places huge pressure on their heart, lungs and legs. As a result, they often live their entire lives in chronic pain, suffering from lameness, skin lesions and even heart failure.

7 day old broiler (meat) chickens in a commercial indoor system

Our #ChangeForChickens campaign has been urging the food industry to commit to global policy changes that will improve the welfare of billions of chickens. Companies are expected to:

  • Use chicken breeds that grow at a healthier rate
  • Ensure that chickens have the space to behave more naturally. Cages must never be used
  • Give chickens the opportunity to enjoy natural behaviours via enrichment – including perches or platforms and pecking objects – natural lighting and high-quality bedding
  • Ensure that chickens are slaughtered using more humane methods that avoid live shackling and render all animals unconscious before slaughter

HELP US PUT PRESSURE ON THESE FAST FOOD GIANTS

Get more information and call out these companies on the cruel conditions endured by factory farmed chickens.

40 billion chickens around the world each year are subjected to significant suffering in factory farms
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