The Campbell Soup Co. has announced plans to improve the welfare of broiler chickens in its supply chain.
“By 2024, we will aim to move our entire U.S. chicken meat supply to a higher standard of animal welfare,” said Niki King, director of responsible sourcing for Campbell Soup.
“Campbell has made animal welfare a key part of our vision for an ethical and responsible supply chain, and we expect our suppliers to meet our requirements while partnering with us to implement and execute more ambitious practices.”
The soup giant says it will work with suppliers to improve the treatment of broiler chickens by transitioning to strains of birds approved by the Royal Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) or the Global Animal Partnership (GAP) that are recognised as having better welfare outcomes and providing more space for chickens.
The Campbell Soup Co. also said that they will work to offer improved environments including litter, lighting and enrichment that meet GAP’s new standards.
They also added that they will process chickens in a way that avoids pre-stun handling and instead uses multi-step controlled atmosphere stunning.
“We’ll thoughtfully address the impact of this commitment to the farmers from which we source our ingredients,” Ms King added.
“We will aspire to achieve these standards by 2024, but changes such as these are complicated and require time, investment and partnership to succeed, and must align with our commitment to ensuring access to good, affordable food for our consumers.”
The company also announced that it would use third-party auditing to ensure compliance.
The Campbell Soup Company has already committed to sourcing 100% No Antibiotic Ever (NAE) chicken for diced and canned chicken products by 2018 and to transition to exclusive use of cage-free eggs.
The move comes as Campbell shares slumped earlier this year after the food retailer announced poor sales that are expected to remain lukewarm next year.