March 6, 2017

Applegate Becomes First Retail Brand to Commit to Higher-Welfare Chicken Breeds

Applegate commits to higher welfare chicken

Today Applegate, a widely available brand that produces turkey, chicken, pork and beef products, released a new, comprehensive animal welfare policy that includes a commitment to improving the lives of broiler (meat) chickens in its supply chain by 2024. With guidance from the ASPCA, Applegate becomes the first retail brand pledging to:

  • address the welfare problems associated with the fast growth rates of modern broiler chickens by transitioning to healthier breeds;
  • offer higher-quality, enriched living environments;
  • align specific on-farm practices with the 2024 animal welfare standards of Global Animal Partnership—one of the independent certification programs recognized by the ASPCA’s Shop With Your Heart program; and
  • adopt a more humane slaughter process known as controlled atmosphere stunning.

The ASPCA was proud to work with Applegate to holistically address the complex and multifaceted issues affecting broiler chickens’ welfare. Commitments like this will go a long way to undo the problems caused by selective breeding for unhealthy growth rates in the chicken industry.

As famed chef Julia Child once said, “Anyone who is a carnivore needs to understand that meat does not originally come in these neat little packages.” While this is true, it can be very difficult for concerned consumers to get straight answers about how farm animals lived. That is why we are pleased to see that Applegate has also added transparency and clarity to its entire animal welfare policy, grounding it in the widely respected Five Freedoms, committing to report on the progress of its goals, and releasing a series of videos that show what some of its suppliers' farms look like.

“With this new policy, Applegate is addressing the welfare of broiler chickens and offering more of the kind of information that the public needs to make welfare-conscious choices,” says Nancy Roulston, Director of Corporate Engagement for Farm Animal Welfare at the ASPCA. “We hope more companies notice Applegate’s leadership and follow suit to make our food system ever more accountable and humane.”

Visit ASPCA.org/shopwithyourheart for help finding higher welfare products and tips on how we can all use our purchasing power to build a better world for farm animals.