Nando’s has no plan to sign up to proposed European welfare standards for chicken, known as the European Chicken Commitment, after rival KFC signed up last Friday.
The new standards include natural light, at least two metres of perch space per bird, better air quality, improved stunning requirements and no cages. Third party auditing and annual public reporting on progress will be in place to ensure compliance.
The new standards have been proposed and signed by 28 European-wide animal welfare organisations, including the RSPCA and Compassion in World Farming.
But Nando’s has no current plan to follow KFC’s lead and agree to the terms.
A spokesman said it has been “working hard with a range of independent experts on our strategy to address the complex relationship between higher welfare standards, environmental issues and supply-chain management.
“We are resolved to overcome these challenges, identify opportunities and ensure that every aspect of how we source our chicken is done in the best possible way”
He added that Nando’s, which grills about 30 million chickens every year, “welcome initiatives like the Better Chicken Commitment and share the aspiration and recognition of the need to change. We look forward to keeping everyone updated on our plans as we move forward on this important issue.”
Nando’s currently uses the Red Tractor scheme to monitor welfare standards and has internal technical teams which make regular visits to its suppliers. It also deploys independent auditing companies to make additional checks.
Paula MacKenzie, General Manager of KFC UK & Ireland, which has over 900 outlets and fries around 60 million chickens every year, said “signing the European Chicken Commitment isn’t just a box-ticking exercise for us, we’re doing this because we truly believe it’s the right thing to do.
“Chicken is our business and we have a responsibility as the chicken brand, to make sure we’re pushing improvement to chicken welfare standards across our supply chain.”
The proposed new European welfare standards for chicken that have been adopted by KFC were published in an open letter to the industry. It read as follows:
“To Whom It May Concern:
“As you may know, we, the undersigned organisations, work individually with many food companies. In the course of that engagement, we’re sometimes asked by companies if our groups can speak with one voice. That generally isn’t possible— our groups don’t necessarily work in tandem, and often disagree on issues, tactics, and more.
“That said, you may be pleased to know that, while we often are not in agreement with one another, we have reached agreement on what the most pressing welfare concerns related to broiler production are, and how to best mitigate those concerns. Towards that end, we’ve reached a common agreement on baseline broiler welfare policy language—which we agree is the minimum that any European corporate policy must achieve and make publicly available.
The letter went on to propose five commitments.
“By 2026, we will require our suppliers to meet the following requirements for 100% of the [fresh, frozen, and processed] chicken in our supply chain:
- Comply with all EU animal welfare laws and regulations, regardless of the country of production.
- Implement a maximum stocking density of 30kg/m2 or less. Thinning is discouraged and if practiced must be limited to one thin per flock.
- Adopt breeds that demonstrate higher welfare outcomes: either the following breeds, Hubbard JA757, 787, 957, or 987, Rambler Ranger, Ranger Classic, and Ranger Gold, or others that meet the criteria of the RSPCA Broiler Breed Welfare Assessment Protocol.
- Meet improved environmental standards including:
- · At least 50 lux of light, including natural light.
- · At least two metres of usable perch space, and two pecking substrates, per 1,000 birds.
- · On air quality, the maximum requirements of Annex 2.3 of the EU broiler directive, regardless of stocking density.
- · No cages or multi-tier systems.
- Adopt controlled atmospheric stunning using inert gas or multi-phase systems, or effective electrical stunning without live inversion.”
It was signed by the following:
Albert Schweitzer Stiftung für unsere Mitwelt (Germany)
Animal Equality (Germany, Italy, Spain, UK, global)
Center for the Ethical Attitude Towards Nature (Belarus)
Çiftlik Hayvanlarını Koruma Platformu (Turkey)
Compassion in World Farming (France, Italy, Ireland, Netherlands, Poland, UK)
Deutscher Tierschutzbund (Germany)
Djurens Rätt (Sweden)
Een DIER Een VRIEND (Netherlands)
Eurogroup for Animals (Pan-European)
Fundacja Alberta Schweitzera (Poland)
Humane Society International (global)
Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Ireland)
Menschen für Tierrechte (Germany)
Oikeutta eläimille (Finland)
Otwarte Klatki / Open Cages (Poland, Ukraine)
OZ VEGÁNSKE HODY (Slovakia)
Pro iure animalis (Germany)
ProVeg International (Germany, global)
Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (UK)
Slepice v Nouzi (Czech Republic)
The Humane League (UK, global)
Vier Pfoten / Four Paws (Austria, Germany, UK, Bulgaria)
World Animal Protection (UK, global)