According to The Humane League, Whole Foods Market will begin higher animal welfare standards for chickens in its supply chain. This makes Whole Foods the first major US retailer to sign on to all parts of the Better Chicken Commitment.

Source: Animal Equality/Youtube

Whole Foods will phase out live-shackle slaughter in its chicken suppliers, with full removal for all 487 locations by 2026. Live-shackle slaughter is ubiquitous in chicken factory farms. In this process, a chicken is shackled, yanked upside down, and then undergoes an electrical bath to knock her unconscious before her throat is slit and she’s dumped into boiling water.

“Every year, billions of chickens suffer within our food system, and much of that chicken is eventually sold in supermarkets. This groundbreaking commitment by Whole Foods sets a precedent for the US retailer industry,” said David Coman-Hidy, President of The Humane League in an emailed statement. “Whole Foods is a company that prides itself on natural ingredients and strict quality standards, so we applaud them for taking this necessary next step to improve the conditions of the animals within their supply chain. I foresee this to be the first of many improvements to come within our nation’s retail industry to ensure chickens will see a better life in the future.”

The Better Chicken Commitment includes a limit on stocking density, increased auditing, a shift from rapid-growth breeds, and a transition away from live-shackle slaughter. More than 170 food companies, such as Burger King, Chipotle, and Denny’s, have pledged to meet the Better Chicken Commitment’s standards.

Read more about factory farming in One Green Planet, including a lesson from a pig farmer and Costco’s new chicken slaughterhouse. Check out more articles on factory farming:

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