The Better Chicken Commitment
SPCA supports the Australia-New Zealand Better Chicken Commitment.
The Better Chicken Commitment (BCC) is a set of evidence-based standards that aims to drive the food industry towards higher welfare practices. It includes requirements to institute a maximum stocking density of 30kg/m2 or less; to adopt breeds that demonstrate higher welfare outcomes; to provide better lighting, perches and enrichment; to advocate for more humane slaughter; and to demonstrate compliance via third-party auditing.
The initiative is an opportunity for New Zealand food businesses to demonstrate their commitment to higher animal welfare standards.
SPCA supports the Australia-New Zealand version of the Commitment. The organisations that support the Better Chicken Commitment have agreed on the set of standards, but otherwise work separately on the Better Chicken Commitment, using different strategies. SPCA supports New Zealand food businesses to sign up and to implement the Commitment, and to raise public awareness of the positive aspects of higher chicken welfare.
SPCA works in a number of ways to improve meat chicken welfare in New Zealand, including working with government and industry, education, and advocacy. SPCA’s endorsement of the Australia-New Zealand Better Chicken Commitment is part of ongoing advocacy work by SPCA and is separate to the SPCA Certified animal welfare assurance programme.
SPCA Certified supports the use of meat chicken breeds that demonstrate improved welfare outcomes in comparison to conventional breeds.
Being a member of SPCA Certified does not preclude a business from signing up to the Better Chicken Commitment. SPCA Certified highlights to our members where we intend to go in the future within each standard - this includes a recommendation that meat chicken producers switch to the use of slower growing breeds as soon as they are available in New Zealand, as well as a reduction in stocking density.
(See ‘Chickens Bred for Meat’ for more information)