NEW YORK: World Animal Protection welcomes the commitment made by Nestle USA, announced today, to improve the welfare of the chickens farmed for meat in its U.S. food supply chain.
The Nestle USA commitment includes critical and much-needed animal welfare measures, such as transitioning to slower-growing chicken breeds, providing birds with more space, and offering improved living environments with natural lighting and enrichments, by 2024.

"We congratulate Nestle USA on this commitment to significantly improve the lives of millions of chickens in the United States. As the world's largest food company, Nestle has the power to make large-scale changes to improve the lives of farm animals," says Dr. Martin Cooke, International Head of Corporate Engagement at World Animal Protection. "We are pleased to have worked with Nestle in helping to develop the company's animal welfare guidelines, and we look forward to following the company's progress as they implement these transformative changes for the chickens in their supply chain."

Nestle is the most recent food and beverage company to commit to improving the lives of broiler chickens in the United States. Restaurant Brands International, Aramark, Compass Group USA, and other major food companies have also announced commitments in the past year to improve the welfare of broiler chickens, signalling a wider movement to improve the lives of chickens farmed for meat.

World Animal Protection partnered with Nestle in 2014, and for the duration of the collaboration worked together to grow Nestle's expertise on farm animal welfare as a vital part of the company's responsible sourcing strategy. Nestle USA previously announced a commitment to source only cage-free eggs by 2020 as ingredients for its U.S. food products. World Animal Protection has long advocated the changes for chickens to which Nestle has now committed, and the organization works with food businesses and suppliers around the world to advise on animal welfare policies and their implementation.

On average, sixty billion meat chickens, known as broiler chickens, are raised for global consumption each year. An estimated two-thirds of these animals (40 billion) live in overcrowded sheds with little or no natural light or fresh air and are unable to perform many natural behaviors, such as foraging, perching, and dustbathing. Many chickens will experience painful conditions including lameness (difficulty walking) and suffer overworked hearts and lungs because of unnatural growth rate, as well as wounds like skin sores and burns from spending too long in wet, poorly managed litter. By committing to practical improvements that directly address these severe animal welfare problems, food companies can transform the welfare of the chickens in their supply chain.

Through its Change for Chickens campaign, World Animal Protection is calling on food retailers to improve the welfare of the billions of chickens farmed for meat around the world. The organization is calling for:
•The use of chickens that are bred to have better welfare.
•More living space for chickens
•Enrichments for chickens to engage with and explore, such as perches and hay bales
•The introduction of natural light in sheds

(Posted on 20 October 2017, 1686332172 172O70O43O48)