CHICAGO – Conagra Brands Inc. announced plans to enhance animal welfare standards throughout its broiler chicken supply chain. According to an Aug. 27 announcement, the Chicago-based packaged foods company is requiring its suppliers to adopt specific requirements related to the treatment of chickens by 2024. The enhancements were developed in partnership with the Humane Society of the United States.

“Conagra Brands is committed to the humane treatment of animals and our belief is that creating quality food for our consumers is more than just putting ingredients together, it also includes how we source those ingredients,” said Dave Biegger chief supply chain officer for Conagra Brands. “We’re proud to work with the Humane Society of the United States as well as others in the food industry to take meaningful steps towards positive change in broiler chicken welfare practices.”

The initiatives and goals include sourcing 100 percent of chickens used in Conagra products from either Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) or Global Animal Partnership (GAP)-approved breeds.

Suppliers will be expected to comply with GAP standards related to improving natural lighting, litter quality and other enrichments that improve environments. The company will also prohibit the use of broiler cages and require producers to adhere to flock density standards of no greater than six pounds per sq. ft.

Conagra will also require its processing partners to implement controlled atmosphere stunning technology to eliminate live shackling or live dumping of birds. The company plans to track supplier compliance via third-party auditing.

Biegger added, “We recognize that our 2024 goals require industry-wide partnership to succeed and we will collaborate across our value chain to further animal welfare while preserving consumer access to quality, affordable food.”