Good news! This week Popeyes Louisiana Chicken—the third-largest chicken chain in the United States—has become the latest brand to adopt the Better Chicken Commitment, a set of standards that will meaningfully improve chicken welfare in the company’s supply chain.
By signing on to this commitment—to be implemented no later than 2024—Popeyes joins more than 200 brands, including Subway, Starbucks, and Papa John’s.
The Better Chicken Commitment addresses the most pressing welfare concerns associated with the treatment of chickens raised for meat. It includes a commitment to transitioning to higher-welfare strains of birds, improving living conditions, and ending the horrific practice of live-shackle slaughter.
Leah Garcés, president of Mercy For Animals, shares:
Every year billions of chickens suffer in our food system. We commend Popeyes, as one of the largest purchasers of chicken in the country, for taking a significant step toward reducing the suffering of chickens with their new policy. It also makes clear that if the king of the chicken sandwich can commit to treating chickens better, there’s no excuse for any of their competitors, such as McDonald’s, KFC, and Chick-Fil-A, not to follow suit.
Since 2016, Mercy For Animals has been part of a coalition effort to reduce the suffering of chickens used for meat. In 2017, Mercy For Animals worked with Restaurant Brands International (RBI), the parent company of Popeyes, to release a groundbreaking commitment to chicken welfare standards by Burger King and Tim Hortons, which are also owned by RBI.
Last year, Popeyes ignited what people call the chicken sandwich wars with the launch of a premium chicken sandwich, taking on rivals Chick-Fil-A and Wendy’s. McDonald’s is busily testing their own new premium sandwich to enter the fray in 2020. But unlike Popeyes, Chick-Fil-A, Wendy’s, and McDonald’s have failed to commit to meaningful standards to meet rising consumer expectations for animal welfare.
With this commitment, Popeyes has put their competitors on notice, along with all the other companies that have not adopted the Better Chicken Commitment, including KFC, Bojangles, and Wingstop.