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Co-op Members Say No to Frankenchickens in Landslide Vote

Co-op Members and supporters from The Humane League tell Co-op to ban Frankenchickens.

Image of a Frankenchicken from an investigation into Cranswick Farms in 2021.

Credit: Open Cages. Image of a Frankenchicken from an investigation into Cranswick Farms in 2021.

Co-op members supporting the Better Chicken Commitment stand outside the AGM with placards and Co-op banners behind them.

Co-op members headed by The Humane League UK will fight for a full commitment to the Better Chicken Commitment.

The members of the Co-op have voted to ban Frankenchickens from their supply chain despite refusal from leadership.

It is inspirational that tens of thousands of members across the country have decided that the cruel use and abuse of Frankenchickens is outright wrong.”

— Aaron Parr, Senior Campaigner at The Humane League UK

MANCHESTER, UNITED KINGDOM, May 22, 2023/EINPresswire.com/ — 96% of 32,000 Co-op members voted for the supermarket to adopt the Better Chicken Commitment (BCC) at today’s AGM and relieve the suffering of chickens reared for meat on Saturday.

However, the Co-op board refused to stop selling fast-growing ‘Frankenchicken’ breeds, despite the breed being one of the main sources of intense suffering in chickens raised for meat. They have agreed to give their chickens more space, equivalent to BCC requirements.

Aaron Parr, Senior Campaigner at The Humane League UK and member of the Co-op, said: “Co-op members have overwhelmingly voted to help chickens. It is inspirational that tens of thousands of members across the country have decided that the cruel use and abuse of Frankenchickens is outright wrong. But the Co-op leadership has betrayed its ethical and democratic values by clinging on to using Frankenchickens. The Co-op exists for its members – their democratic will must not be ignored by those at the top.”

The BCC is an animal welfare policy designed by experts to improve the lives of chickens raised for meat. Companies who adopt the policy commit to replace fast-growing breeds with healthier, slower-growing birds and give the animals more space, natural light, enrichment, and less painful slaughter methods.

The motion for the Co-op to adopt the BCC was headed by Co-op members from animal charity The Humane League UK. It was the only member-led motion which appeared at the supermarket’s AGM in Manchester this year.

An estimated 51 million birds supplied to Co-op each year would benefit from these improvements if the board follows the mandate set by their members. This would make the Co-op the third UK supermarket to make the pledge, after Waitrose and M&S.

Currently only 2% of Co-op’s chickens raised for meat are reared to higher welfare standards, as opposed to nearly 100% of their laying hens and pigs. (Reference: https://downloads.ctfassets.net/5ywmq66472jr/5VpKP1wSMZWnwnUULahdrD/0a31972547ef7c4cc4885e0b2f9efdd4/Co-operate_Report_2022.pdf)

Fast-growing Frankenchickens make up around 90% of the over one billion chickens reared and killed for meat in the UK each year. As a result of their rapid growth they can suffer from a wide range of health and welfare issues including heart attacks, organ failure, lameness, bone deformities, muscle diseases, and burns. Over one million die of illness in the UK every week, excluding bird flu deaths.

TV chef and campaigner Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall wrote in The Guardian that “These animals are living lives of squalor and horror on a scale that most people choose never to think about, because if they did they would barely believe it possible.”

A judicial review (case reference CO/2956/2021) brought by The Humane League UK earlier this month claims the Government has an unlawful policy of permitting the rearing of Frankenchickens. They argue fast-growing breeds are illegal because their genes cause detriment to their health and welfare, something the law forbids. (Reference: https://thehumaneleague.org.uk/article/judicial-review-challenging-the-use-of-frankenchickens-granted.)

Over 350 businesses in the UK and EU have committed to the BCC so far, including major and budget food companies like KFC, Nando’s, Greggs, Waitrose and Marks & Spencer.

Notes for editors.

Photos from the day can be found here – https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1Bl6tWy1BAJQcGJ2hJUHT9zs7i3Rrx04_?usp=sharing.

Credit Open Cages: Cranswick investigation photos 2021, showing fast-growing Frankenchickens – https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1SS3-wcqurZsK7Regx6MgNJIc_s6Rn-Ud.

About The Humane League
The Humane League is a registered charity ending the abuse of animals raised for food by influencing the policies of the world’s biggest companies, demanding legislation, and empowering others to take action and leave animals off their plates. Since the organisation began operating in the UK in 2016, it has secured hundreds of commitments to improve the lives of animals raised for food. Find out more at www.thehumaneleague.org.uk.

Matthew Chalmers
The Humane League UK
+44 7900 955081
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Calling Co-op Members! Vote to help chickens.

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