The Pecking Order Report released by World Animal protection earlier today has revealed that majority of companies in the food industry are failing to implement meaningful changes to improve the welfare of chickens in their supply chains. Companies’ inaction is not only an animal welfare issue but also a threat to human health, with antibiotic overuse in farming fuelling a deadly superbug crisis.
The report calls on companies to raise welfare standards to reduce the need for routine antibiotics used to prevent disease amongst animals kept in appalling conditions.
Dr Victor Yamo, Farming Campaigns Manager at World Animal Protection said, “The Pecking Order is committed to shining a light on the chicken meat industry and encouraging companies to improve their animal welfare policies. While progress has been made by some companies, others must be held accountable for their shameful lack of consideration of animal welfare.
The Pecking Order 2022 highlights the need for fast-food companies to take urgent action to address animal welfare and human health concerns. Consumers are increasingly holding companies accountable for the treatment of animals used in their supply chains, and companies must recognize that there is no justification for profiting from the pain of sentient beings.”
Every year, billions of chickens endure chronic pain, skin lesions, and even heart failure caused by selective breeding, with little environmental enrichment in their cramped living conditions. This is the reality for many chickens in the fast-food industry, who are subjected to inhumane treatment by companies who refuse to take their welfare seriously.
The report’s key findings
Kenchic is the leading company in Kenya in broiler chicken welfare with an overall percentage of 42%. In Commitments and Targets they managed an 83% score placing them in Tier 2 (good Progress). However, just like most of the global food companies they are yet to start reporting on their commitments. They are followed by Carrefour with a 17% overall score and a 33% score in Commitments and Targets.
Most of the local companies assessed were performing poorly and very poor in their approaches to broiler chicken welfare in their supply chains and they lacked any animal welfare policy or commitments.
For the global fast-food brands despite their franchises in other geographical regions having Animal welfare policies and having made commitments to improve broiler chicken welfare the same did not apply to their franchises in Kenya. This highlights the double standards of the brands globally.
The report recommendations
The report recommends four actions to improve welfare for animals on farms.
1. That local food companies endeavour to work with World Animal Protection to develop the requisite Farm Animal Welfare policies that are aligned to the Farm Animal Responsible Minimum Standards (FARMS) and make their commitments to improving farm animal welfare throughout their supply chain. The policy and commitments should then be placed on their website and launched publicly for accountability.
2. That global fast-food companies, liaise with their headquarters and franchises in other geographical locations which have developed the farm animal welfare policies aligned to FARMS and made commitments to improve on farm animal welfare within their supply chain to help them develop the same to eliminate the double standards within their supply chain.
3. That leading local food company in broiler welfare in Kenya start reporting on their performance in delivering the farm animal welfare policy to improve on their rating in 2023.
4. That animal resource industry in collaboration with the government (Directorate of Veterinary Services, Directorate of Livestock Production, Kenya Bureau of Standards among others) review the Food Animals’ Welfare – Code of Practice DKS 2829:2018 to align it to the globally recognized FARMS.