The Coffee Club supporting a better life for chickens
SPCA is delighted to hear our long-term supporter, The Coffee Club, has come on board with the Better Chicken Commitment.
The Better Chicken Commitment is a set of evidence-based standards that aims to improve the lives of chickens farmed for meat. In 2022, SPCA joined fourteen local and international animal NGOs - including Animals Aotearoa, Veterinarians for Animal Welfare Aotearoa, the Australian Alliance for Animals, Compassion in World Farming, the Humane League and World Animal Protection - in calling for food businesses to sign up to the Better Chicken Commitment.
The Coffee Club has agreed to implement the Commitment after discussions with Animals Aotearoa. Joining the Commitment will see them transitioning by 2026 to a supply chain that makes several improvements, including:
- a shift to healthier chicken breeds who grow more naturally
- the installation of windows so that the birds have natural light in the shed
- giving chickens more space (i.e. reducing the number of chickens kept in each shed); and
- providing perches for chickens to rest on and providing enrichment materials.
"As a brand committed to the highest animal welfare standards, we are thrilled to support the Better Chicken Commitment," says Andy Lucas, Co-Director of both The Coffee Club and Bird on a Wire. "We understand the importance of responsible corporate practices and know that our customers expect only the best from us. Embracing the BCC standards aligns perfectly with our values."
The Better Chicken Commitment has been hugely successful in the European Union and the United States, with over 500 food businesses signing up to protect chicken welfare in their supply chains - including supermarkets, fast food chains and meal kit companies.
The initiative is an opportunity for New Zealand food businesses to demonstrate their commitment to higher animal welfare standards.
Increased demand for ethical choices
New Zealanders are increasingly calling for their food to be produced sustainably and ethically, and there is a growing international movement of companies pledging to improve the welfare of chickens farmed for meat.
SPCA believes that commitments like these are required because conventional chicken breeds – including those in free-range systems - are bred to grow too quickly, typically reaching slaughter weight at around five weeks.
SPCA’s Scientific Officer for farmed animals, Marie McAninch, says the charity welcomes this news from Coffee Club, who has been a proud supporter of SPCA New Zealand since 2017.
“We’re delighted that one of our event sponsors and the first café to reach SPCA Certified standards for eggs, The Coffee Club, is making this move to improve the quality of life for chickens,” says McAninch.
“Many people don’t know that the welfare of conventional chicken breeds can deteriorate quickly because of their breed and fast speed of growth, and they can suffer from painful conditions such as lameness and cardiovascular problems. SPCA strongly advocates for the introduction of slower-growing, healthier breeds of chicken into New Zealand.”
In additions to changes in breed, it is important that chickens are provided with appropriate lighting, enough space, and effective and suitable enrichment material that allows for a range of species-specific behaviours such as scratching, foraging, pecking and dust-bathing.
The Better Chicken Commitment is a way for companies to better protect the welfare of chickens.
Bird on a Wire, a restaurant serving Free-range rotisserie chicken, has also recently signed up. They join My Food Bag, Domino’s New Zealand and SwoleFoods and Hello Fresh demonstrating their animal welfare leadership, agreeing to implement its standards by 2026- joining over 500 food businesses worldwide.
SPCA congratulates businesses who follow suit in the region, and will support New Zealand food businesses to sign up. If food businesses have questions about the Better Chicken Commitment, our team can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.