Qdoba Mexican Eats and Jack in the Box restaurants announced their support of an industry-wide effort to improve the welfare of broiler chickens.
“We’ve always been committed to the well-being of animals in our supply chain,” says Lenny Comma, chairman and chief executive officer. “As examples, in recent years we've worked with our suppliers to improve housing environments for egg layers and sows.
“In an effort to better understand broiler welfare from a variety of perspectives, we engaged in lengthy discussions with several important stakeholders, including our poultry suppliers and industry representatives. We also had very helpful discussions with animal-welfare organizations—specifically with the Humane Society of the U.S. and Compassion in World Farming—who helped us better understand these broiler welfare issues and who engaged with us in a productive and constructive manner. What these discussions have taught us is that changes in these and related practices would need to be systemic and industry-wide. Accordingly, we look forward to working with other members of the foodservice industry, the broiler supply chain, and animal-welfare experts, to help drive the improvements that we’re seeking.”
The broiler supply chain changes that Qdoba and Jack in the Box have set as a goal to achieve by 2024 include the following:
Switching to broiler breeds approved by Global Animal Partnership (GAP) as having higher welfare outcomes;
Reducing stocking density in barns, per GAP standards;
Enhancing the birds’ living environments, including improved litter, lighting and enrichment, per GAP standards;
Switching to a multi-step controlled-atmospheric stunning that will help ensure that birds are rendered unconscious before processing.
“Once these advancements are in place, we will verify compliance via third-party audit of our suppliers’ broiler practices,” Comma says. “We also intend to report periodically on our suppliers’ progress towards achievement of the GAP standard.”