The Humane League UK has joined over 60 organisations that make up the Eating Better Alliance. In this article Senior Campaigner – Cordelia Britton tells us more about the organisation and particularly their work on the Better Chicken Commitment which is central to the organisation’s corporate campaigns:
The Humane League UK started out as a small grassroots organisation in the US in 2005 and has since grown into a global non-profit, launching in the UK in 2017 and becoming a registered charity in spring 2018.
We brought hard-hitting, successful campaigns from across the pond, first working on eliminating cages for egg-laying hens, securing a wave of corporate commitments impacting millions of animals. Now our corporate campaigns focus on encouraging restaurants, food service companies and other corporations to eliminate the worst suffering of chickens raised for meat by signing up to the Better Chicken Commitment.
The urgency for helping chickens farmed for meat has never been greater. Making up around 95% of all land animals raised and killed for food around one billion chickens are killed in the UK every year. During their short lives, the suffering they endure is immense. Right now, The Humane League UK focuses its resources on tackling this critical issue.
The Better Chicken Commitment—also known as the European Chicken Commitment in Europe—was agreed upon by leading animal protection groups including alliance organisations Compassion in World Farming and World Animal Protection. The commitment contains six key measures addressing the major issues encountered in standard chicken production. The measures include prohibiting the use of fast-growing breeds, reducing overcrowding, and adding environmental enrichment to provide better conditions for chickens.
Companies including KFC, wagamama, Pret a Manger, Nestlé, Waitrose and Marks and Spencer have now signed this commitment and are working towards improving the welfare standards in their supply chain. Over 125 companies have adopted the BCC at a UK or European level. The largest UK broiler producer, 2 Sisters Food Group, has pledged to supply chicken that meets the standards required. While the suffering of chickens reared for meat is one of the most pressing animal welfare issues of our time, we now are beginning to witness a market shift in the industry akin to the cage-free movement for laying hens—and this is just the beginning.
‘I am delighted that the Eating Better Alliance is welcoming The Humane League UK among their members. We're very excited to work alongside Eating Better Alliance organisations as we believe that together we are stronger. To achieve our vision of a future free from animal abuse, the pathway of drastically reducing meat consumption and improving farm animal welfare is a core component of our strategy.’ The Humane League UK's Managing Director, Vicky Bond.
To find out more about chicken production in the UK, read Eating Better alliance resource ‘We need to talk about chicken.’