With over 330 companies (1) committed to the European Chicken Commitment (2), and a 38% increase since 2021, the evolution of broiler production towards higher welfare farming is clear. European citizens are driving this change, expressing their support for improving welfare standards (3).
To assess the costs of this transition, we commissioned a study from Wageningen University comparing the costs of conventional and ECC-aligned production in six EU Member States - the Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Italy, Germany and France. The study shows that the costs vary between countries, and are about 18-19% higher on average. Of course, this comes as no surprise, as currently the prices of animal products are lowered by insufficient investments in their welfare. However, the increase in costs can be offset by financial support at national and EU level for higher welfare farming practices. It is indispensable to provide a financial incentive for farmers to drive this crucial change towards improved welfare standards. Retailers also play an important role in providing a fair price for the welfare-friendly products that farmers supply them with.
The transition to better welfare standards is a crucial step towards a brighter future for animals, and is in line with the goals of the Farm to Fork strategy (4). It is high time the EU follows the voice of EU citizens and incorporates higher welfare standards for broiler chickens in the revised animal welfare legislation.
(1) The Humane League, 'STATE OF THE CHICKEN INDUSTRY': http://bit.ly/3n6DtFZ
(2) The European Chicken Commitment: http://bit.ly/40lKuB1
(3) Eurobarometer, 'Attitudes of Europeans towards Animal Welfare': http://bit.ly/3Z1LGZu
(4) European Commission, 'Farm to Fork strategy': http://bit.ly/3yX5Jxz