SOUTHPORT, CONN. — Earth Animal signed The Better Chicken Commitment (BCC) in cooperation with Compassion in World Farming (CIWF), an international farm animal welfare organization. The pet food company is the fifth in the pet food industry to sign the commitment.
“We believe that all animals deserve to live a good life, and therefore we have a fundamental responsibility to protect and advocate for the animals in our families and those that are born, raised, and slaughtered for our pet foods and other pet products,” said Susan Goldstein, co-founder of Earth Animal. “We adopted the pet industry’s first comprehensive Animal Welfare Framework in 2022 where we committed to setting objectives and targets to improve the welfare of animals in our supply chain. Because chicken is our most used protein, the BCC is the logical first step in actively promoting animal welfare throughout our source ingredients.”
Developed by The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), Mercy for Animals, CIWF and other animal welfare organizations, the BCC is a science-based policy that seeks to ensure the welfare of farmed chickens. The policy addresses welfare issues related to breeding, housing conditions, stocking density and slaughter.
According to Earth Animal, its signing of the BCC adds more specific, time-bound commitments to improving the welfare of its chicken supply.
“The ASPCA conducted a survey in the first 6 months of COVID demonstrating that the more consumers know about the horrors of the industrial farming model, the more interested they are in changing their consumption habits,” said Stewart Shanley, chief executive officer of Earth Animal. “We are proud to be a pioneer in the pet industry by providing pet parents more humane options.”
In signing the BCC, Earth Animal will enforce its chicken suppliers to meet strict welfare requirements by 2024, which include:
- A maximum stocking density of 6 lbs per square foot
- Elimination of broiler cages
- Enriched environments for chickens, including litter, lighting and enrichment that follows standards set by the Global Animal Partnership (GAP)
- Processing methods that avoid pre-stun handling and uses a multi-step controlled-atmosphere system
- Demonstration of compliance with animal welfare standards through third-party auditing.
Earth Animal’s signing of the BCC is just one of the ways the company has committed to animal welfare. Currently, the company’s products use chicken certified by GAP, an animal welfare food labeling program.
The pet food company is also working closely with CIWF USA’s managers and animal welfare specialist to help raise the standards of chicken welfare throughout food processing industries within the United States. The organization offers reports — EggTrack and ChickenTrack —to help companies track their progress in broiler chicken and the laying hen industries. CIWF USA also co-hosts the US Working Group for Broiler Welfare, which supports food businesses exploring welfare strategies and solutions for developing an animal welfare-centric supply chain.
“Chickens raised for meat, also known as broiler chickens, make up approximately 95% of the farm animals in our food system,” said Julia Johnson, senior food business manager at CIWF USA. “Over nine billion are raised and slaughtered each year in the United States. By announcing their pledge to the BCC, Earth Animal is demonstrating that they care about the quality of life these chickens have, as well as transparency to their customers about their own elevated sourcing standards.”
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