Chickens raised for meat live in overcrowded, dim sheds full of urine and waste for nearly their entire lives. The meat industry breeds them to grow so big so quickly that they suffer leg pain and deformities. Many birds are unable to walk to reach food and water. Some can’t even stand. Others die from heart failure when their organs can’t keep up with the birds’ rapid growth.
Years ago, hundreds of major food companies seemed to recognize the urgent need to reduce suffering in their chicken supply chains. These companies publicly promised to adopt Better Chicken Commitment standards, which eliminate the cruelest chicken farming practices. But even with the 2024 deadline drawing near, some companies aren’t being transparent about their progress.
That’s why Mercy For Animals published our second annual Count Your Chickens Report ranking food companies on their efforts to share progress toward their chicken welfare commitments and roadmaps to fulfilling them.
Some companies, including sweetgreen and Pret A Manger, earned passing scores, while others, such as Sonic and Le Pain Quotidien, failed miserably. TGI Fridays and White Castle are also among the companies that earned disappointing grades—they haven’t reported any progress in years.
While the best thing we can do to help animals is not eat them, we can also help reduce suffering for countless farmed chickens by encouraging companies to be transparent in meeting their animal welfare goals.
*Photos represent a typical chicken factory farm.