ROCKLIN, CALIF. — Campfire Treats announced July 6 it has become the first company to achieve full compliance with the Better Chicken Commitment (BCC), a leading set of evidence-based standards for broiler chicken welfare endorsed by The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) and many other animal welfare organizations. Several leading poultry producers have joined the commitment alongside more than 230 companies in various sectors, including pet food.

The BCC was established in 2016 by the ASPCA, Compassion in World Farming, and the Humane Society of the United States alongside other animal welfare groups to improve the lives of commercial chickens worldwide. Tenants of the commitment include healthier chicken breeds, enriched environments and more humane processing methods. Companies striving to meet these requirements are subject to third-party auditing to ensure standards are met.

“While animals’ environments are enormously important to their welfare, genetics largely determine chickens’ quality of life,” said Nancy Roulston, senior director of corporate policy and animal science for ASPCA’s Farm Animal Welfare division. “In a testament to their deep commitment to animal welfare, Campfire Treats is the first company to reach the exciting goal of sourcing exclusively from farms that raise higher-welfare chicken breeds in better living conditions, making them a leader not just among pet food brands but across the entire food industry. We are proud to collaborate with Campfire Treats through the ASPCA’s Higher Welfare Pet Food Initiative and are grateful that they offer pet owners a way to nourish their beloved pets while supporting the movement toward a more compassionate food system.”

According to the ASPCA, more than 9 billion chickens are raised for their meat per year, the majority of which are raised in inhumane conditions. Selective breeding has drastically altered natural growth and weight gain rates for these chickens. For example, the National Chicken Council states that in 1925 it took 112 days on average for a chicken to reach a market weight of 2.5 lbs. Today’s chickens have been bred selectively to reach a market weight of more than 6.5 lbs in just 47 days.

Commercial chickens subject to these rapid growth expectations are more likely to suffer from cardiovascular dysfunction, and more than 5% — or 450 million — of these birds are either culled or perish from health issues every year.

Campfire Treats sources humane breeds for all its chicken-based pet treat products through the Better Chicken CommitmentSource: Campfire Treats

“Higher-welfare breeds are pivotal in prioritizing animal welfare and promoting sustainable farming practices,” said Julia Johnson, head of food business at Compassion in World Farming. “Approved breeds of the Better Chicken Commitment, characterized by a more natural growth rate, offer numerous benefits that contribute to the overall well-being of chickens, allowing them to live healthier lives where they can express natural behaviors. Compassion in World Farming congratulates Campfire Treats for becoming the first company to implement all BCC criteria across its entire supply chain, setting the bar high for the pet industry and beyond. Reaching this first-of-its-kind achievement demonstrates the importance of animal welfare in Campfire Treat’s supply chain.”

According to the ASPCA's 2023 Public Opinion Survey on Pet Food Sourcing Standards, 87% of consumers said they are willing to switch to pet food brands that “put more care into where they source their animal-derived ingredients.”

“We believe that all animals should be treated with kindness and respect,” said Marko Wittich, president and co-founder of Campfire Treats. “This includes the farm animals raised for meat, for which we bear a special responsibility. That is why we joined the Better Chicken Commitment in 2021 with a promise to gradually transition from conventional chickens to Global Animal Partnership (GAP) certified healthy slow-growth birds, which are humanely raised and slaughtered. I’m incredibly proud that we have been able to fulfill that promise today by becoming the world’s first pet (or human) food company to meet all elements of the BCC for absolutely all our chicken products.”

Campfire Treats is an all-natural, single-ingredient dog treat company focused on ethical sourcing and sustainability practices. In addition to reaching this milestone in the BCC, the company also maintains certifications from the GAP and repurpose Global. Campfire Treats sources all ingredients from US-based farms and fisheries, and all products are free from additives and preservatives.

Read more about sustainability efforts in the pet food and treat industry.