CH&CO has committed to meet all the standards set out in the European Chicken Commitment
for 100% of the chicken in its UK and Ireland supply chains, by 2026.
- 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.
- Demonstrate compliance with the above standards via third-party auditing and annual public reporting on progress towards this commitment.
Electrical waterbath stunning is the main method used globally for the slaughter of poultry. There are, however, significant animal welfare concerns with this method and in 2012 the European Food Safety Authority called for an end to its use1. Effective electric alternatives are yet to be developed. However, recognising that under halal standards, Controlled Atmosphere Systems may not be accepted as the animal must not be dead at the time of slaughter (cutting), it is a bare minimum that a stunning method which renders the animal insensible to pain, but still alive, is developed and adopted as soon as possible -
We, CH&CO, agree to:
- Actively press our suppliers and support the latest research projects2 to find alternatives to electrical waterbath as a matter of urgency;
- Support the call for the use of waterbath stunning to be banned by 2026, and new, more humane systems for the effective electric stunning of poultry without conscious inversion to be developed and commercially available by no later than 1st January 2026;
- Commit to investing and adopting such a stunning method (without conscious inversion) as soon as it is commercially available.
1 ESFA 2012 report, pg 35
2 For example, by engaging with the Effective Electrical Stunning roundtable convened by Compassion in World Farming