A&W Commits to Higher Standards of Chicken Welfare


VANCOUVER — A&W Food Services of Canada Inc. has committed to the adoption of even higher animal welfare standards for farm-raised broiler chickens. The changes are based on the company’s philosophy of continuous improvement and ongoing evaluation of the humane treatment of animals.

“We want to continuously raise the bar in animal welfare to ensure animals are treated with respect. Today, we have elevated our standards to include some new ones. It all adds up to a better life,” says Susan Senecal, president and CEO at A&W Canada.

New requirements put in place today include the introduction of physical enhancements that best allow for natural bird behaviour, while preserving an antibiotic-free environment and ensuring a minimum of six hours of darkness in the barn so chickens can rest better at night.

A flock health-care plan and qualified veterinary care — which is actively monitored — is currently required at each of A&W’s supplier farms to maintain flock health.

A&W uses breeds of birds that can thrive in the barns with optimal health. These birds are raised to a weight best for maintaining mobility and leg and foot health. All of A&W’s farmers also work to ensure that the birds have ample room to roam, with the majority of barns operating at a density well below the industry requirement. The company will now ensure that all farmers maintain barn-density levels that meet or exceed the standard set out in the Global Animal Partnership Step Level 2.

A&W currently has stringent standards for the humane handling of birds for euthanasia and has already begun working with its suppliers to adopt Controlled Atmosphere Stunning — a process which reduces the individual handling of the birds. The company has committed to a complete conversion to this enhanced method no later than the end of 2022.

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