Aramark and Compass Group USA, two of the largest food service companies in the world, have both adopted new animal welfare policies by which their broiler chicken suppliers must abide by 2024.
The two companies made their announcements on November 3 in two separate press releases.
Aramark, which is headquartered in Philadelphia, in 2015 implemented an animal welfare code that includes the “five freedoms.” The latest announcement expands on that animal welfare initiative.
Broiler suppliers, under the new policy, are being asked to take the following actions:
- Transitioning to strains of birds that measurably improve welfare issues associated with fast growth rates per Global Animal Partnership (GAP) standards.
- Reducing maximum stocking density to equal to/less than 6 pounds per square foot, per GAP standards.
- Providing chickens with enriched environments including natural light, hay bales and perches that meet GAP standards.
- Evaluating with animal welfare organizations over the next year issues related to litter quality, lighting, air quality, and other environmental conditions.
- Rendering chickens unconscious prior to shackling using Controlled or Low Atmosphere Stunning.
"A cornerstone of our corporate responsibility platform is a longstanding commitment to sustainable sourcing with a priority on the wellbeing of animals raised by our independent suppliers," said Scott Barnhart, Aramark's Senior Vice President, Global Supply Chain and Procurement. "That commitment is constantly evolving and serves as the foundation for what we expect from our suppliers."
Compass Group USA stated that its newly-adopted policy includes that broiler producers in their supply chain must raise their chickens under the following conditions:
- Meet the GAP maximum stocking density standard of 6 pounds per square feet.
- Have access to enrichments including hay bales, perches and natural light
- Use approved genetic strains for slower-growing chickens and meet criteria for any new strains, to be assessed
- Render birds unconscious prior to shackling using a method of Controlled Atmosphere Stunning
"We are honored to be the first food service company to pilot a project of this magnitude with GAP, whose integrity and leadership set the highest ethical standards for certification of farm animal welfare," said Gary Snyder, Chief People Officer, Compass Group North America. Snyder oversees the company's farm animal welfare policies.
According to a press release from Compass Group, the new policy will affect the lives of about 60 million chickens annually.
Compass Group’s North American operations are headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina.