One billion chickens are slaughtered for meat in the UK each year

The vast majority suffer terribly from intensive farming practices

7 out of 10 people who buy chicken are appalled chickens suffer because of fast growth © RSPCA

Chickens farmed for meat (broiler chickens) are made to grow unnaturally fast. This can lead to heart attacks and chronic leg problems from struggling to carry their own weight.

Chickens are intelligent creatures and, like us, have the capacity to feel pain and emotion. The space they have doesn’t  provide them with enough room to do the things which come naturally to them, like moving about freely and flapping their wings.

The four key issues for meat chickens

What we want changed

More and more chickens are killed for food each year, but despite this rapidly growing demand, there has been little progress made in improving the welfare of the majority of chickens bred for their meat. It’s time things changed.

8 out of 10 people expect supermarkets to ensure chicken sold is farmed to high welfare standards

The RSPCA and other groups across Europe are urging food businesses to implement a new set of standards – The Better chicken Commitment – which calls for:

  • The use of slower growing breeds, to protect chicken health and welfare
  • more space so that birds can move about freely and perform their natural behaviours
  • straw bales and vegetables to peck, to act as enrichment and keep birds occupied
  • natural light
  • adopting more humane methods of slaughter. 

As the majority of people still choose to eat meat, dairy and eggs and the demand for chicken is predicted to rapidly rise, these steps are vital to improving the life of billions of meat chickens.

Take action for chickens

We’re calling on Tesco to sign up to The Better Chicken Commitment and need your help.

Tesco is the UK's largest retailer and spend on intensive indoor chicken meat is more than Asda and Morrisons combined. A change in policy by Tesco would have the biggest impact on the lives of broiler chickens – over 380 million animals would benefit every year!

M&S lead the way by being the first supermarket to have signed up to the commitment. Other companies, too, have committed to changing their practices:

 

Companies currently committed to better chicken welfare standards

 

We, the RSPCA, define intensive farming as a system of farming livestock in which management of the animals hinders the performance of normal behaviours to such an extent that welfare is compromised.

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