The Co-operative Food's Good Chicken Award has been withdrawn by Compassion in World Farming following the retailer's decision to increase broiler chicken stocking densities from 15 to 17 birds per square meter.
While the increase from 30kg to 34 kg per square meter meets legal requirements, it goes above the maximum limit set for the organization's Good Chicken Award, which recognizes companies committing to provide higher welfare standards throughout their supply chain. A reduced stocking density is one of the criteria that must be met. The Co-operative Food signed up to this agreement in perpetuity in 2010 for its fresh and frozen chicken.
Tracey Jones, Compassion in World Farming director of food business commented: "We're very disappointed that The Co-operative has taken this step. As well as the Good Chicken Award, they have also received a Good Egg Award, a Good Dairy Award and Supermarket Awards for introducing higher welfare standards in their supply chain. However, we cannot ignore that the company is now reneging on the criteria for our Good Chicken Award and feel that sadly we have no choice but to withdraw it."
The Co-operative has commented that it has increased stocking densities for economic reasons so that it can continue to supply consumers with chickens at competitive prices.