LOS ANGELES, July 13, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A new poll conducted by NRG Research Group shows four out of five Americans want food companies to commit to greatly reducing the suffering of chickens in their supply chains, even if it results in higher prices.
The poll surveyed consumers on improving each step of a broiler chicken's life, from genetic selection to slaughter. Key findings include the following:
83% oppose using chickens bred to grow so fast they often become crippled under their own weight and support switching to breeds with higher welfare outcomes
76% support ending live-shackle slaughter in favor of less cruel systems that eliminate the suffering caused by shackling, shocking, and slitting the throats of conscious animals
78% oppose extreme crowding by which each chicken is provided with less than a square foot of floor space
78% support banning these conditions even if per-pound cost of chicken meat increases
Respondents also strongly support measures such as keeping chicken litter clean enough to prevent eye sores, flesh burns, and respiratory distress; providing environmental enrichment, such as straw bales and pecking objects, so chickens can engage in natural behaviors; improving lighting standards, including at least six hours of darkness each day to avoid further accelerating the chickens' growth; and implementing third-party auditing programs to ensure laws and commitments are not violated.
Dozens of leading food businesses, including Subway, Burger King, Chipotle, and Panera Bread, have already adopted meaningful chicken welfare standards to end the worst abuses in their supply chains. But Tyson Foods, the biggest poultry producer in the U.S., recently announced standards that fail to adequately address the most pressing chicken welfare issues. This new poll comes on the heels of Tyson's announcement.
"Chickens are the most abused animals on the planet," said Brent Cox, vice president of corporate outreach with Mercy For Animals. "The longer Tyson Foods, Wendy's, and other companies wait to prevent the worst forms of animal abuse in their supply chains, the more they set themselves apart as out of touch with consumer expectations and the latest science on animal welfare."