Better Chicken Commitment with Michiel van Veldhuisen

The Better Chicken Commitment. What is it and what are the long-term effects for the poultry sector and more detailed, hatcheries? Michiel van Veldhuisen, International Sales Manager at HatchTech, explains more.

 “In the Better Chicken Commitment movement, food companies all over the world are addressing concerns about animal welfare and commit themselves to specific welfare requirements by 2026. These requirements are for instance concerned with the quality of chickens’ life at poultry farms, but also the processes in slaughterhouses. Currently, the commitment does not state anything about the incubation process at hatcheries, but in the future, it might do. And even if that doesn’t happen, regulations that affect poultry farms will always have an impact on hatcheries as well. The ultimate goal of the Better Chicken Commitment is to improve animal welfare in the whole supply chain, and that starts with hatching.”

“The long-term effect of the Better Chicken Commitment is hard to predict and depends on a number of factors. The most important question is which food companies commit themselves to this set of standards. Many leading food companies, like Unilever, Burger King, and Subway, have already adopted the Better Chicken Commitment, but there are also some big ones that have not committed yet. For example the most popular supermarkets in the UK: Tesco and Sainsbury’s. When big companies like these do not commit themselves to the Better Chicken Commitment, there will still be a market for chicken that does not meet the higher welfare standards.”

“A second factor that has a great influence on a commitment like this is how consumer demands develop in the future, and how the retail will decide to fulfill these demands. These decisions will have an impact on the whole supply chain. And let’s not forget the power of the NGOs that have first introduced these new standards. For example, in the Netherlands NGOs such as ‘Wakker dier’ have quite some power and influence on retail and consequently consumer behaviour. This power of NGOs will differ per country, but certainly has an influence on the development of the regulation.”

“Though we can’t look into the future to determine the outcome of the Better Chicken Commitment, we obviously have to take our responsibility when it comes to animal welfare. I believe that we should not only follow the trends within our industry but always try to stay one step ahead. Animal welfare is a topic that is here to stay.”

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