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Sprouts Farmers Market commits to improving broiler chicken welfare

Organic grocery chain Sprouts Farmers Market has committed to upgrading its sourcing procedures and is making phased improvements in poultry welfare after consulting with Compassion in World Farming.

18 August 2021, at 8:35am

One of the US’s leading grocers has committed to taking a staggered approach to improving broiler chicken welfare. Sprouts Farmers Market, which has more than 360 stores in 23 states, released an updated animal welfare commitment after two years of discussions with animal welfare organizations such as Compassion in World Farming, the world’s leading farm animal welfare organization, and other industry partners.

The new commitment includes a timeline for providing meaningful and measurable sourcing standards for the chickens raised for consumption in its own-brand fresh chicken, one-pan meals, full-service case, and roasted deli offering.

The news comes a week after the announcement of a US Working Group for Broiler Welfare by seven of the nation’s leading food and restaurant companies.

“There is now real momentum in the movement for improving broiler chicken welfare,” said Ben Williamson, US Executive Director, Compassion in World Farming.

“Sprouts has been working with our technical experts for at least two years to ensure its commitment will improve broiler chicken welfare ‘meaningfully and measurably.’ This approach is indicative of a company that wants to deliver on its promises.”

Over 200 brands in the United States have committed to improving welfare standards in alignment with the Better Chicken Commitment, which sets a baseline welfare standard for breed selection, space allocation, environmental enrichments, slaughter method, and third-party auditing. Other retailers that have adopted the Better Chicken Commitment include Whole Foods Market, Giant Eagle, and Thrive Market.

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Sprouts’ phased approach will provide enrichments by 2024, reduce stocking density by 2025, and allow for more humane slaughter, through controlled-atmosphere stunning, by 2026. The retailer also recognizes “the welfare issues experienced by conventional breeds of chickens raised for meat” and will continue to explore how to adopt higher welfare breeds.