PCC Community Markets has announced it is joining the Better Chicken Initiative to support the improvement of chicken welfare around the world.
In addition, the Seattle, Washington-based co-op market will introduce a private label line of organic chicken, in partnership with Pitman Farms of Sanger, California.
“Today we expand upon PCC’s longstanding commitment to healthier food production systems, ensuring that chickens raised for meat are treated in ways recommended by our nation’s top experts,” Brenna Davis, PCC Community Markets' VP of social and environmental responsibility, said in a prepared statement. “We are grateful to partner with Compassion in World Farming on this important issue and, together, we hope to inspire our industry to do better.”
The standards of Compassion in World Farming’s Better Chicken Initiative and the Joint Animal Protection Organization Statement on Broiler Chicken Welfare include providing chickens more space, offering the birds environments where chickens can behave naturally, complying with animal welfare certification rules and choosing breeds that grow more slowly.
PCC currently carries organic fresh and frozen chicken that meets higher welfare standards than conventional commercial methods. PCC will further this by pledging that 100 percent of its fresh and frozen chicken and ready-to-eat chicken products meet the following guidelines by 2024:
- Transition to strains of birds that demonstrate higher welfare outcomes that meet the criteria of the RSPCA Broiler Breed Welfare Assessment Protocol or Global Animal Partnership;
- Reduce stocking density to a maximum of 6 lbs. per square foot and prohibit broiler cages;
- Provide birds enhanced environments including litter, lighting and enrichment that meets GAP’s new standards;
- Process chickens in a manner that avoids pre-stun handling and instead utilizes a multi-step, controlled atmosphere processing system that induces an irreversible stun; and
- Demonstrate compliance with the above standards via third-party auditing.
“As the first retailer to commit to improving broiler chicken welfare for its ready-to-eat chicken products in addition to fresh and frozen chicken, PCC furthers its strong and longstanding commitment to farmed animal welfare,” said Katya Simkhovich, food business manager with Compassion in World Farming. “We are thrilled to have PCC as a partner in continuing to push the needle meaningfully forwards on broiler chicken animal welfare."
Pitman Farms, PCC’s partner in offering private-label organic chicken, has a long legacy of responsible farming, animal welfare and environmental standards. Available in store in late May, PCC Organic Chicken will include fresh chicken that meets the BCI requirements.
Source: PCC Community Markets