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EU's largest meat supplier signs the Better Chicken Commitment

The Jan Zandbergen Group, one of the EU's largest meat importers, has agreed to supply chicken that meets the higher welfare standards of the Better Chicken Commitment.

9 December 2020, at 7:43am

One of the largest importers of meat into the EU, Jan Zandbergen Group, has announced it will supply chicken meeting the higher welfare criteria of the Better Chicken Commitment (BCC).

The Netherlands-based distributor has pledged to supply higher welfare chicken to all current and future customers, joining 2 Sisters Food Group who made a similar pledge in 2018.

Vicky Bond, Managing Director at The Humane League UK, said: “We can’t congratulate Jan Zandbergen Group enough for making this pledge to supply chicken that meets the BCC criteria. Not only that, but it has shown real initiative in promoting the BCC among its partners, and pushing animal welfare up the corporate agenda.

"There is an ever-growing movement of companies committing to higher welfare systems, and this pledge will not only allow these companies to fulfil their commitments but also encourage many more to do the same. This kind of leadership and cross-industry support is vital to forging a better future for chickens.”

Jochem Versloot, one of the directors at Jan Zandbergen Group, said:

“One of our core values is taking responsibility, that means also Corporate Social Responsibility, including animal welfare. The majority of chicken products that we supply already meet higher standards than EU legislation requires. However, not all suppliers are yet able to meet the desired higher patterns. With our commitment to support the BCC, we encourage various producers worldwide to meet the standards of Better Chicken Commitment. We will also make efforts to assist them in this transition to adapt to the BCC welfare standards.”

The BCC is an initiative developed by leading animal protection groups including The Humane League UK to drastically improve the welfare of broiler chickens.

It contains six measures: prohibiting fast-growing breeds; reducing stocking density; providing natural light and enrichment; reducing distress at slaughter; complying with all EU laws and regulations; and ensuring third-party auditing.

Since its inception in 2018 over 190 UK & EU companies across all sectors have committed to meet the criteria by 2026, including KFC, Nestlé, Unilever and Pizza Hut.

However, UK retailers are lagging behind, with only Waitrose and Marks & Spencer signed up. The Humane League UK is calling on Aldi, ASDA, Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Coop and Morrisons to urgently commit to the BCC.