First Restaurant Chain in the U.S. Adopts Groundbreaking Chicken Welfare Policy

Pret A Manger, a popular restaurant chain with more than 70 locations in the United States, announced a first-of-its-kind commitment to improving chicken welfare standards following discussions with Mercy For Animals.

Pret has committed to using only chicken that meets the welfare standards laid out by Global Animal Partnership (GAP), an international farmed animal welfare certification program. This commitment makes Pret the first restaurant chain in the world to adopt a comprehensive welfare policy addressing the cruelest practices inflicted on chickens raised for meat.

Pret’s policy will require the chain’s chicken suppliers to switch to higher-welfare breeds of chickens and reduce the stocking density of farms, giving chickens more room to move and engage in natural behaviors. Pret’s commitment also mandates important environmental enrichments, including improved light levels and litter quality inside barns, and requires that animals be rendered unconscious prior to slaughter. In order to ensure suppliers comply with these higher welfare standards, Pret has committed to using third-party auditing.

Chickens raised for meat—also known as “broilers—are among the most abused animals on the planet. These birds are bred to grow so large, so fast they are crippled by their own weight. Many suffer from constant leg pain so severe the animals cannot stand and spend nearly all of their time sitting in their own waste. At slaughter, they are shackled, shocked, cut open, and often scalded alive. MFA is proud to be working with companies like Pret to create and adopt policies to end these horrific practices.

In November, foodservice companies Compass Group and Aramark announced similar higher welfare standards for chickens in their supply chains. Today’s announcement by Pret clearly demonstrates that consumers and the food industry recognize that needless suffering of chickens is unacceptable and has no place in a morally responsible business.

Of course, we can help chickens the most simply by leaving them off our plates. Try these 10 delicious chicken-free products that boast all of the taste but none of the torture.