Breaking news: Sodexo, Panera Bread announce major reforms for broiler chicken welfare

By on December 21, 2016 with 7 Comments By Wayne Pacelle

We’re building major momentum with our new campaign to improve the lives of broiler chickens, with Panera Bread and Sodexo this week committing to work with U.S. suppliers to implement on-the-farm reforms. These are big, powerful brand names in the food sales world, and they are two very strong companies we’ve worked with on a set of prior reforms for animal welfare.

Within the last two years especially, you’ve heard from me about joint announcements we’ve made with companies to eliminate the confinement of calves in veal crates, breeding pigs in gestation crates, and egg-laying hens in cages. Whether it’s with Walmart, McDonald’s, Kroger, ConAgra, or the dozens upon dozens of others, we’ve established a new norm in the industry that immobilizing animals does not line up with consumer sentiment about how farm animals ought to be treated. We are working to end the era of extreme confinement of animals in cages and crates, and that day is coming.

While these advancements are something to celebrate, we also know there’s more to be done in creating a more humane food system. And at the top of the list for The HSUS is the treatment of chickens raised for meat. In our industrial food production system, broiler chickens as a matter of routine are genetically manipulated to grow so fast, they’re often barely even able to walk by the end of their lives, which is usually only about 47 days. (Yes, all chicken meat comes from baby chickens.) Because of their forced rapid growth, one of the most common forms of mortality on the factory farm is heart attacks, something unheard of in any other type of animal agriculture for animals so young. The living conditions are typically spare and unforgiving, with most birds being forced to live jam-packed inside barren, windowless warehouses without any forms of enrichment — even modest ones like hay bales or perches. At slaughter, they’re shackled while fully conscious, and then put through a killing process that is not governed by any federally mandated humane slaughter standard. The federal Humane Methods of Slaughter Act is applied to cattle and pigs, but not to chickens or turkeys – an appalling and ethically inconsistent gap in the law.

But there’s hope for the nine billion chickens raised and slaughtered every year in the United States for consumption.

You may remember that back in June, we worked with Perdue — the fourth-largest poultry producer in the United States — to begin addressing the core issues outlined above. Since November we’ve been working with Panera Bread and Pret a Manger to be the first restaurant chains to enact broiler chicken welfare policies. Besides Sodexo, we also worked in recent weeks with Compass Group, Aramark, Delaware North, and Centerplate – collectively, the nation’s five largest food service companies that run the dining operations at tens of thousands of colleges, universities, hospitals, prisons, event centers, and stadiums — to do the same.

We’re confident that just like the confinement issues before, we’re going to make progress with other major food sellers in the United States to address the broiler welfare issue head-on. The Panera Bread and Sodexo announcements are just a start, and we’re gearing up for 2017 to be the year when the fate of the broiler chicken turned dramatically for the better.

P.S. We’ve also received some great news for egg-laying hens: AccorHotels, an international hotel group that operates 4,000 hotels across 95 countries, announced today that it is partnering with Humane Society International to implement a global free-range egg policy. AccorHotels will eliminate caged eggs from its liquid and shell egg supply chain in Europe by 2020, and in remaining markets within eight years. The Brazil Fast Food Corporation, one of Brazil and Latin America’s largest restaurant companies, has also committed to switching to exclusively cage-free eggs in its more than 1,250 restaurants, after talks with HSI.

Farm Animals

Subscribe to the Blog

Enter your email address below to receive updates each time we publish new content.


Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Henrietta Komras says:

    I don’t get how any of this is “humane”????
    Breeding sentient beings so they are fat and die quickly so people can stuff their fat faces with broiler chickens???????

    These are beings with consciousness who feel and suffer pain and deserve a life and we treat them like they are things for consumption
    I don’t care WHAT KIND OF FRIGGIN CRATES you put them in it is one species enslaving another

    There is nothing humane about this

    it is WRONG
    Why aren’t we fighting to stop the use of animals
    why are we saying this is ok/better

    it is wrong to use another being
    it is heinous
    and a crime
    and we have no right to call ourselves “human ” beings
    This is slavery and torture to breed a being to be eaten

    • Jim Demoruelle says:

      Henrietta your sentiments, immoral, wrong, unethical, slavery are sweet however when pared with the word inhumane they become misdirected. Why you may ask? Humane applies to people.The use of animals was given to us as a gift from GOD when he declared that man has Dominion over the animals of the earth, the fowl of the air and the fish of the sea. Dominion is a strong word Henrietta, it means that you have the power of ownership, life, death and any other moral activity in using the gift. If you choose to kill and eat the fat chicken or fight the thin chicken you are not in violation of Dominion. Oh yea, the fighting gene was placed in the chicken by God not man. If you do not believe in God you need not answer as the chicken understands his lot better than the nonbeliever. A powerful word Dominion.

  2. CathyC says:

    Real food isn’t born – it’s grown. The meat and dairy industries are keeping us all sick, making us antibiotic resistant and only the and big pharma ae cashing in while the rest of us go broke. The meat and dairy industries are responsible for the mass deforestation and climate related greenhouse gas emissions that are causing our environment to implode.

    If Panera wanted to make a stand – they’d go to all whole food plant based on their menus.

  3. Andrew says:

    Kuduos to you fine folk. A life well-lived…!

  4. Diana says:

    Despite what the naysayers write, congratulations to the HSUS for fighting the good fight. You are winning one battle at a time.
    And the majority of our population is never going to stop consuming meat and dairy products no matter what some of these “activists” wish. At least we can ensure these animals are raised without cruelty

  5. Henrietta KOmras says:

    I am sure Jesus would never condone the incredible suffering and murder of kind animals. This is insanity. As you sow so shall you reap. I am sure somewhere down the line so-called “humanity” will pay for its endless holocaust of non-human animals.

    Men (not women) wrote the bible asserting male dominion of everybody except other males; animals, women, etc. so that they could have POWER AND MONEY and live by greed and using others.

    It is unethical and immoral and deep down inside we know it

    And the word “human” and “person” must be earned; those allowing others to kill for them so they can have a McBurger are guilty of murder. and deep down inside those who eat “meat” which is really fellow sentient beings murdered as babies so “humans” can stuff them down their esophagus kno wit.

    • hillary says:

      I think people forget about Genesis 1:29
      “Meat” was originally from trees and seed bearing plants.

      And sure some might say, well once sin was introduced we have eaten flesh. But I ask this, was God’s original plan just not good enough? We as humans I guess know better than the Great I Am.

      Also, for those that think we should have animal flesh because it tastes good:some people think long pig taste good(those of the Hannibal Lecter persuasion)…it doesn’t make it right.

Share a Comment

The HSUS encourages open discussion, and we invite you to share your opinion on our issues. By participating on this page, you are agreeing to our commenting policy.
Please enter your name and email address below before commenting. Your email address will not be published.