The majority (87%) of shoppers want UK supermarkets to stop selling fast-growing ‘Frankenchickens’ and instead expect higher welfare standards.
According to new research by the RSCPA, an online poll of 2,089 UK adults found that 79% think animal welfare is important and will influence what they buy and 66% sometimes or always check packaging to ensure this is of high standard.
Additionally, seven out of 10 agreed that they would rather shop at a supermarket that offers high-welfare chicken.
As a result, the RSPCA has launched a campaign urging shoppers to influence supermarkets to sign up to the Better Chicken Commitment (BCC) – the leading set of standards for broiler welfare which looks to drive the food industry towards higher welfare practices.
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Of the UK’s leading supermarkets, only Waitrose and M&S have currently signed up to the commitment which looks to improve the lives of chickens by replacing fast-growing breeds with healthier, slower-growing birds and giving the animals more space, natural light and enrichments.
However, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Co-op have started to introduce slower-growing breeds as a small amount of their larger chicken offering, The Grocer reported.
This comes as Co-op’s board and members clashed at its annual general meeting last month over the welfare of chickens reared for meat.
Demonstrators urged the convenience retailer to adopt the BCC, with 96% of 32,000 Co-op members voting for this at the AGM.
While the board has refused to stop selling fast-growing ‘Frankenchickens’ as it strives to keep prices down, it has agreed to give chickens more space, equivalent to BCC requirements.