Fast Food & Chicken Welfare: Who gives a cluck?

World Animal Protection (WAP) launched the Pecking Order 2018 ­report – the first-ever international ranking on the welfare of chickens raised for meat.  The data sets are American and one could argue could have local applications when considering Enhanced Media Metrics Australia Enhanced Media Metrics Australia reported 60% of 14-29 year olds are eating fast food at least once a month (national average 45%).

Burger King, KFC, Domino’s Pizza Group, Domino’s, McDonalds, Nando’s, Pizza Hut, Starbucks and Subway have all been assessed with deeply concerning results according to WAP describing it as profit from pain.

shutterstock_534547093“The scores are in and it’s not looking good for some of the world’s largest fast-food brands when it comes to chicken welfare.” says Jonty Whittleton, Global Campaign Head at World Animal Protection.   “These iconic companies must respond to growing consumer concerns over chicken cruelty, using their immense power to improve the lives of hundreds of millions of animals.”

shutterstock_619447958It’s estimated 40 billion chickens around the world each year are subjected to significant cruelty in factory farms and are genetically selected to develop unnaturally fast, which places huge pressure on their heart, lungs and legs.  As a result, they often live their entire lives in chronic pain, suffering from lameness, skin lesions and even heart failure.

shutterstock_1101798296Key findings from The Pecking Order 2018:

·        Fast-food chains do not have a global policy on improving chicken welfare and how they are sourced

·        Only 3 of the 9 companies – Burger King, Starbucks and Subway ­– have demonstrated interest and ambition in addressing the main problems faced by factory farmed chickens.

shutterstock_768536317The data available and transparency of organisations on which the conclusions have been drawn from limit the validity of the report, however qualitative aspects raise some valid issues when removing the emotional context its couched in. 

It’s also something not to completely disregard when assessing the continuing evolution of eating trends and attitudes here in Australia.

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