A Major “Coop!” ButcherBox® Becomes First Meat Delivery Service to Offer Products from Higher-Welfare Chicken Breeds
To date, it has been very hard for consumers to find chicken from higher-welfare breeds, but that is about to change! ButcherBox® is now the first subscription meat service to offer delivery of this kind of chicken to consumers’ doorsteps, nationwide. The new products meet the Better Chicken Commitment standards, which address three major factors in determining birds’ wellbeing: genetics, housing environment and end of life.
Did you know? Most chicken produced in the U.S. and around the world is from just one breed: the fast-growing Cornish Cross, often referred to as “Frankenchicken.” Because of the breed’s rapid and disproportionate growth, these birds are pushed to their biological limits, causing poor welfare issues including increased lameness, organ failure, compromised immunity and poor muscle integrity. Additionally, these chickens are typically raised tightly together in large, barren sheds without any access to the outdoors. This wasn’t always the case, and it doesn’t have to be the future, either.
Novel and comprehensive scientific research commissioned by Global Animal Partnership (G.A.P.) and conducted at the University of Guelph evaluated 16 different chicken breeds on a range of important qualities that let chickens be chickens, such as walking ability, foot and leg health and muscle damage. Based on these results, a shortlist of higher-welfare breeds was identified.
Despite the scientific proof that certain breeds of birds have a better life, and survey data shows that 81% of Americans who buy chicken feel it is important that the chickens they eat be raised humanely, it is a challenge for conscious consumers to actually find these products stocked at the grocery store. In fact, the 2023 Supermarket Scorecard found that of the top 20 largest grocery retailers, only one supermarket chain even had a Better Chicken Commitment policy to begin to stocking products using a healthier breed. Not only has ButcherBox made three products available to its customers, but it offers verification using third-party animal welfare certification to back up these claims. This is a big clucking deal!
The bottom line? Healthier, higher-welfare breeds of chicken exist, and when companies selling chicken, like ButcherBox, choose to support farmers who use better breeds, it becomes possible to shift the whole industry with consumer demand, as consumers finally have the better options they’re seeking.
While there’s more work to be done to enable an industry shift, this new option from ButcherBox shows that there are committed brands who aren’t too chicken to make meaningful change to build a kinder world.
Where to find these better chicken products:
- ButcherBox: The three new products are available in the custom box. Look for the heirloom pasture-raised G.A.P. Step 4 Better Chicken Project certified options.
- Whole Foods Market®: Whole Foods carries a pasture-raised whole chicken product from a better breed. Availability varies by store, so always look for the G.A.P. Better Breed Chicken Project label on the packaging.
All of these products are listed on our Shop With Your Heart Grocery List and are distinguished with the G.A.P. Better Chicken Project logo (below).
How else can you help? Reach out to the companies you buy chicken from (be it the chicken brand, the retailer, restaurant or pet food brand), and politely urge them to be a part of the solution by purchasing from farmers who use higher-welfare chicken breeds. This is the most impactful way to improve the lives of chickens raised for meat. If you don’t eat chicken, you can help by sharing this news with your network of friends and family who do.
No matter what you eat, you can help fight factory farming. Stay in-the-know with brands’ more humane product offerings and policy actions that reduce animal suffering by joining our Factory Farming Task Force.