Waitrose & Partners have signed up to the European Chicken Commitment (ECC), which is a pledge to only sell meat from slower growing breeds with the best welfare credentials.
The Commitment will ensure that by 2026, Waitrose & Partners will be fully compliant with the very highest welfare standards championed by welfare organisations, including Compassion in World Farming (CiWF), Waitrose’s signature partner for its pledge commitment.
This is expected to benefit around 43,000,000 birds per year. It will also mean that every piece of chicken purchased in a Waitrose & Partners store, including fresh, frozen and ingredient chicken in own brand products, will comply with the new standards.
Other requirements of the pledge, including improved stocking densities, access to natural daylight, perches and pecking substrates, and improved air quality, along with controlled atmosphere stunning, third-party auditing and discouragement of thinning, are all measures that Waitrose & Partners and its farmers already have in place.
Working in collaboration with long term poultry supplier and research partner Moy Park, leading academic institutions and CiWF, Waitrose & Partners will continue to develop the new standards to ensure their success before implementing widely to the benefit of farmers and customers, not to mention the welfare of chickens reared in the UK.
Waitrose says it has already achieved many of the standards in the commitment.
For five years, Waitrose & Partners has ranked in the top tier of the global Business Benchmark on Farm Animal Welfare - an accolade that has been achieved by only a handful of UK organisations this year - and holds a Compassion in World Farming Good Chicken Award for outstanding chicken welfare practices.
Waitrose & Partners Commercial Director Rupert Thomas said: “Along with our farmers and suppliers, we are committed to making the very best standards of farm animal welfare mainstream. We believe that compassionate farming and good business go hand in hand and that’s why we are especially proud to add our name to the 2026 European Chicken Commitment Pledge. We already have significant research under way in conjunction with our suppliers and leading academic bodies and we look forward to playing our part in improving the welfare of broiler chickens.”
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