Animal Welfare Standards raised for broilers

by Editor fleischwirtschaft.com
Friday, September 08, 2017
Photo: Klaus Steves / pixelio.de
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NCC USA


The National Chicken Council (NCC), the United States’ oldest and largest national association representing the U.S. broiler chicken industry (chickens raised for meat), rolled out a set of industry-wide standards for broiler chicken welfare – the “Chicken Guarantees.” The standards are launched as part of NCC’s Chicken Check In program, which serves as a resource for consumers to get the information they are seeking about how meat chickens are raised.
“NCC and its members remain wholly committed to advancing chicken welfare, continuous improvement and consumer choice,” said Ashley Peterson, Ph.D., NCC senior vice president of scientific and regulatory affairs.  “But consumers today are constantly being bombarded with negatives on labeling – no preservatives, no hormones, no additives, no this, never that. Through our Chicken Guarantees, we want to provide the baseline principles that always hold true, no matter what chicken you eat.”

With U.S. chicken consumption at an all-time high, the Chicken Guarantees represent a set of consumer assurances to ensure people have simple, clear and accurate information regarding how their chicken is cared for and raised. No matter which welfare standards a chicken company adheres to, or whether the birds were raised conventionally, organic, without antibiotics or free range, for example, these principles hold true:

Raised Cage-Free: The majority of broiler chickens in the U.S. are raised in large, climate-controlled and ventilated barns, where they’re free to move about, interact with other chickens and have 24-hour access to fresh food and water.

Free Of Added Hormones And Steroids: It’s the law. The U.S. government has banned the use of hormones and steroids in poultry since the 1950s.

Monitored By Licensed Veterinarians: Licensed veterinarians, who have a professional obligation to protect the chickens’ health and welfare, provide comprehensive health care programs for every commercial broiler chicken flock.

Raised By Farmers Trained In Animal Welfare: Farm owners are trained in handling and caring for chickens in order to provide a safe, healthy and low-stress environment. If farmers or their employees mistreat chickens, they are subject to immediate disciplinary action, including termination and prosecution.

A recent survey found that 76% of Americans still mistakenly believe that there are added hormones or steroids present in most chicken meat, and 70% believe most chickens raised for meat are raised in cages. Further, nearly two-thirds (62%) of consumers said chicken labels and packaging were confusing.

The National Chicken Council is a non-profit trade association headquartered in Washington, D.C. that represents chicken producer-processors, the companies that produce and process chickens raised for meat. Member companies of the council account for more than 95% of the chicken sold in the United States.

NCC invites Americans to visit Chicken Check In to learn more about how the chicken they purchase and feed their families is raised. The site offers consumers the opportunity to get a close look at how chickens are raised, from the farm to grocery store shelves. From videos to answers to frequently asked questions, Chicken Check In is as a resource for consumers to get the information they are seeking about chicken care.

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