Casual Dining Group (CDG), the leading UK restaurant group, has taken steps to improve the welfare of millions of chickens by signing up to the European Chicken Commitment.
The announcement builds on the company’s cage free egg pledge and responsible fish sourcing programme, further demonstrating the company’s progressive and responsible approach and its commitment to animal welfare.
The signing of the commitment follows months of planning, analysis and engagement between CDG and Compassion in World Farming (CIWF) to ensure that every opportunity has been explored in order to successfully achieve and sustain its aims.
The European Chicken Commitment requires companies to commit to a range of key standards by 2026 around slower growing chicken breeds, reduced stocking density, environmental enrichment, natural light, and humane slaughtering processes. All parties involved in the agreement will be audited by an independent body to ensure they are meeting the requirements.
As part of this latest initiative on chicken welfare, CDG is calling out to other likeminded companies with similar supply chains to work with them in order to collectively achieve the aims of the commitment and share best practice across the industry.
As the first step, CDG and CIWF aim to host a working group later this year to develop a five-year action plan supported by annual progress reports prioritising the challenges that will need to be overcome in delivering the standards.
Simon Galkoff, Group Procurement Director, CDG, commented, “This agreement is a very exciting time for us and demonstrates months of hard work across the business.
'The decision to sign this agreement was not something we took lightly, and we have conducted significant due diligence and research with CIWF to ensure we’re comfortable that plans are in place to meet the requirements of the commitment.
“The key to achieving this will be working together as an industry to share best practice and come together to achieve a common goal.
'We’re very much looking forward to being part of this industry collaboration and continue our close working relationship with the team at Compassion in World Farming in a continual pursuit of improving practices across our entire supply chain.”
Dr Tracey Jones, Compassion’s Director of Food Business, added, “It’s been a pleasure to work with Casual Dining Group over the last few years. We have seen them tackle confinement in laying hens and are delighted to see them extend their welfare focus to broiler chickens.
'They have a genuine ambition to make a positive contribution to animal welfare across their business, but also across the wider industry.
“Few companies can achieve these production changes alone and we urge others to join the movement to prioritise broiler welfare.
'I sincerely congratulate Casual Dining Group on this significant commitment, and we look forward to working with them on its successful implementation in the coming months and years.”