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Progress! Royal Caribbean Extends Its Chicken Welfare Policy to Include Canada

Good news! Royal Caribbean—which became the world’s largest cruise line back in 2016—recently extended its U.S. chicken welfare policy to Canada after discussions with Mercy For Animals.

All facilities in Royal Caribbean’s North American chicken supply chain will meet animal welfare standards set by Global Animal Partnership (GAP).

To attain GAP certification, producers must transition to breeds of birds with lower rates of disease, injury, and mortality. GAP’s standards also require producers to give birds enough space, provide better lighting, and properly manage litter to ensure it is waste absorbent and suitable for dustbathing.

Royal Caribbean will also ban the cruel practice of live-shackle slaughter, where birds are ripped from transport crates, painfully thrust upside down into shackles on a slaughter line, shocked with electricity, and slashed at the throat.

The new initiative joins the cruise line’s existing animal welfare and sustainability efforts. Royal Caribbean has committed to eliminating gestation crates for mother pigs in its supply chain and sourcing 100 percent of its eggs from cage-free suppliers by 2022.

The company states: 
“It’s no secret that the commercial rearing and processing of food animals and their  products can be, and very often is, an appallingly cruel enterprise. That’s changing, in part because when big customers demand it, industries listen. Royal Caribbean is a very big customer.”
Royal Caribbean’s comprehensive new chicken welfare policy is the latest in significant progress made recently for farmed animals. 

In October, Campbell Soup Company extended its existing broiler chicken welfare commitment to include its Canadian supply chain. By 2024, Campbell aims to transition to strains of birds approved by GAP; provide more space for chickens; and offer improved environments with litter, lighting, and enrichments that meet GAP’s new standards. 

On November 21, Norwegian Cruise Line—the third-largest cruise line in the world—extended its U.S. broiler chicken welfare policy to include Canada. 

And on Election Day, California voters overwhelmingly chose to pass Prop 12, a ballot measure that outlaws the most extreme forms of animal confinement throughout the Golden State. Once it’s implemented, egg-laying hens, baby calves raised for veal, and mother pigs will no longer be confined in cages with barely room to move. Additionally, all eggs, veal, and pork sold in the state will meet this standard.

But our work is far from finished. In 2017 McDonald’s released a weak statement outlining a vague eight-point plan designed to mislead consumers about how the company treats animals. The statement fell far short of addressing many of the most pressing animal cruelty concerns.

Last year MFA joined forces with five other animal protection groups—Animal Equality, The Humane League, Compassion in World Farming, World Animal Protection, and Compassion Over Killing—to demand McDonald’s clearly and explicitly ban the worst abuses endured by birds in its supply chain. 


The torture McDonald’s permits its chicken suppliers to get away with is unacceptable and out of step with both consumer demand and business trends. A recent survey found that 78 percent of American respondents agreed that companies should adopt stronger welfare standards. Additionally, more than 100 major food brands—like Burger King, Jack in the Box, Sonic, and Starbucks—have already committed to implementing specific animal welfare policies that will end these cruelties in their supply chains by 2024. But McDonald’s continues to drag its feet.

Disgusted by McDonald’s lack of compassion? Take action at McDonaldsCruelty.com and McDonaldsMisery.com.

The best way to help animals is to leave them off your plate. But with each animal welfare policy, we are one step closer to a world where every single hen, mother pig, and baby calf raised for veal is free from extreme confinement; we are one step closer to a world where no chickens are bred to grow so big so fast they can’t even support their own weight. So let’s celebrate what these new initiatives mean for millions of individual animals—and for this movement and the amazing potential we have to create a kinder world. And then let’s get back to work and keep the momentum going!