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Broiler Chicken Producers Launch Industry Welfare Standards

By Lauren R. Hartman, Product Development Editor

Sep 08, 2017

Restaurateurs and food producers are enacting more humane standards on how chickens are kept. The National Chicken Council (NCC), Washington, the oldest, largest organization representing the U.S. broiler chicken industry, is now getting involved, establishing industry standards for the welfare of broiler chickens. The standards were launched Sept. 6, as part of NCC’s Chicken Check In program, which serves as an information resource for consumers to get the information about how meat chickens are raised and where it came from.

"NCC and its members remain wholly committed to advancing chicken welfare, continuous improvement and consumer choice," said Ashley Peterson, NCC senior vice president of scientific and regulatory affairs. Consumers today are bombarded with negatives on labeling, Peterson explained, such as no preservatives, no hormones and no additives. The NCC's standards she said, will help provide uniform baseline principles across the industry.

Among the principles:
●Raised cage-free: The majority of broiler chickens in the U.S. are raised in large, climate-controlled and ventilated barns, where they’re free to move about, interact with other chickens and have 24-hour access to fresh food and water.
●Free of added hormones and steroids: It’s the law. The U.S. government has banned the use of hormones and steroids in poultry since the 1950s.
●Monitored by licensed veterinarians: Licensed veterinarians, who have a professional obligation to protect the chickens’ health and welfare, provide comprehensive health care programs for every commercial broiler chicken flock.
●Raised by farmers trained in animal welfare: Farm owners are trained in handling and caring for chickens in order to provide a safe, healthy and low-stress environment. If farmers or their employees mistreat chickens, they are subject to immediate disciplinary action, including termination and prosecution.

More details about the NCC's standards are available at