Dec. 15, 2016
Pret A Manger is the first U.S. national restaurant chain to commit to improvements for the welfare of the chickens raised for its food operations, according to a news release.
The 70-unit chain will only use birds raised under the welfare standards of the Global Animal Partnership, an international farmed animal welfare certification program. The chain's leadership made the commitment after meeting with Mercy For Animals, an international farmed animal protection organization that promotes compassionate food choices and policies.
"Pret A Manger's commitment should inspire other leading restaurant chains to implement identical common-sense welfare improvements. … Companies that fail to adopt this meaningful chicken welfare policy will simply be out of step with consumer expectations and business trends."
According to Mercy for Animals, broiler chickens — or those raised strictly for their meat — are among the world's most abused animals, often raised to grow so quickly they cannot stand because their legs can't support their excessive body weight. As a result, the organization said many of these birds spend their lives sitting in their own waste, which results in overall feather loss and rampant body sores that develop amidst ammonia-laden barn air that is painful to breathe.
GAP-certified businesses, including Pret a Manger, require their chicken suppliers to raise higher-welfare chicken strains in more spacious barns with more light and better waste litter quality for chickens. They also use chickens, which are rendered unconscious prior to slaughter, which is typically not done at most broiler farms.
Similar commitments have been made to these more humane standards of livestock production by major food service companies, including Aramark, Compass Group, and Centerplate in just the past month, according to Mercy for Animals.
"Pret A Manger's commitment to improving the welfare of the chickens in its supply chain by meeting Global Animal Partnership standards will reduce the suffering of countless chickens," said Mercy for Animals President Nathan Runkle, in a news release. "Pret A Manger's commitment should inspire other leading restaurant chains to implement identical common-sense welfare improvements. … Companies that fail to adopt this meaningful chicken welfare policy will simply be out of step with consumer expectations and business trends."