Following through on its commitment to animal welfare and ethical sourcing, all-natural dog treat manufacturer Campfire Treats is proud to announce it has become the first company to meet all requirements of the Better Chicken Commitment for every chicken product they sell.
What is the Better Chicken Commitment?
The Better Chicken Commitment (BCC) is a global initiative to improve the lives of billions of chickens raised for meat initiated in 2016 by the ASPCA (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals), Compassion in World Farming, the Humane Society of the United States and other leading animal welfare organizations. BCC criteria require healthier breeds, enriched environments to better support the chickens’ natural behavior, more humane processing and third-party auditing to certify that these standards are met. As of July 2023, more than 230 companies across a wide range of sectors, including leading poultry producers, have signed on to the Better Chicken Commitment.
Why does the Better Chicken Commitment matter?
In the United States alone more than 9 billion chickens are raised for meat annually. The vast majority of these birds are raised in dark, crowded (and often ammonia-polluted) factory farms without the ability to express natural behaviors such as perching, dustbathing and playing.
Decades of selective breeding favoring rapid growth and weight gain have led to chickens with more than double the slaughter weight of their ancestors, which they reach in a fraction of the time. According to the National Chicken Council, in 1925 it took an average of 112 days for a chicken to reach a market weight of 2.5 pounds. Today’s average market weight has soared to more than 6.5 pounds, but chickens now reach that weight in just 47 days. The price modern chickens pay for this explosive growth is that they are literally crippled under the weight of their own rapidly growing bodies. These birds are also prone to cardiovascular dysfunction, including heart failure. The result is that more than 5 percent (more than 450 million annually!) of chickens raised for meat are culled or end up dying on the factory farm floor due to health problems.
“We believe that all animals should be treated with kindness and respect. This includes the farm animals raised for meat, for which we bear a special responsibility. That is why we joined the Better Chicken Commitment in 2021 with a promise to gradually transition from conventional chickens to Global Animal Partnership (G.A.P.) certified healthy slow-growth birds, which are humanely raised and slaughtered. I’m incredibly proud that we have been able to fulfill that promise today by becoming the world’s first pet (or human) food company to meet all elements of the BCC for absolutely all our chicken products,” said Campfire Treats’ President and Co-Founder Marko Wittich.
Consumers care about the treatment of farm animals, including pet owners. A recent ASPCA survey found that 87 percent are willing to switch to pet food brands that put more care into where they are sourcing their animal-derived ingredients. This demonstrates a recognition that the way chickens are raised needs to change.
“Higher-welfare breeds are pivotal in prioritizing animal welfare and promoting sustainable farming practices,” said Julia Johnson, Head of Food Business at Compassion in World Farming. “Approved breeds of the Better Chicken Commitment, characterized by a more natural growth rate, offer numerous benefits that contribute to the overall well-being of chickens, allowing them to live healthier lives where they can express natural behaviors. Compassion in World Farming congratulates Campfire Treats for becoming the first company to implement all BCC criteria across its entire supply chain, setting the bar high for the pet industry and beyond. Reaching this first-of-its-kind achievement demonstrates the importance of animal welfare in Campfire Treat’s supply chain.”
“While animals’ environments are enormously important to their welfare, genetics largely determine chickens’ quality of life. In a testament to their deep commitment to animal welfare, Campfire Treats is the first company to reach the exciting goal of sourcing exclusively from farms that raise higher welfare chicken breeds in better living conditions, making them a leader not just among pet food brands but across the entire food industry,” said Nancy Roulston, Senior Director of Corporate Policy & Animal Science, Farm Animal Welfare, ASPCA. “We are proud to collaborate with Campfire Treats through the ASPCA’s Higher Welfare Pet Food Initiative and are grateful that they offer pet owners a way to nourish their beloved pets while supporting the movement toward a more compassionate food system.”