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A organisation supported by Amazon advocates for humanely farmed chicken

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Fast-moving Amazon is pushing for slow-growing chickens, which animal rights organisations think are more humanely reared – but they may wind up costing customers more.

In a bow to a prominent animal-welfare group supported by Amazon-owned Whole Foods Market, the US poultry business will increase production of the birds, which are reported to have fewer health difficulties.

On Wednesday, the Global Animal Partnership presented a list of 11 chicken breeds that fulfil its certification standards. The current list is down from 27 breeds. GAP claims that top-tier firms like as Chipotle and Popeyes Louisiana Chicken have signed on to its “better chicken” plan, which they have vowed to implement by 2026.

GAP believes that meat buyers will be prepared to pay a premium price for goods raised in a more ethical manner, and that other corporations will ultimately follow suit.

The group did not provide an estimate of how much more such birds would cost than routinely produced ones, but the National Chicken Council says slow-growth hens — which take 81 days to develop vs 48 for commercially produced ones — are normally three times more costly. According to current government statistics, a standard fresh whole chicken costs roughly $1.53 per pound.

Slow-growth chickens, which take 81 days to develop vs 48 days for conventionally produced chickens, are often three times more costly, according to the National Chicken Council.
Getty Images, LightRocket

The push toward new options is hampered by difficulties such as the greater cost of supermarket food, which has been exacerbated by record levels of inflation in the United States.

According to the Labor Department, the price of meat, poultry, and fish has risen by over 12% since October of last year. Since immediately before the onset of the COVID-19 outbreak early last year, the price of chicken alone has increased by 15%.

Chickens have not only grown more costly, but they have also become more rare. The market is experiencing a chicken scarcity as a result of an increase in restaurant dining demand. Furthermore, the supply of chickens was disrupted by many meat factory shutdowns caused by COVID-19 infections among personnel.

Packages of chicken on the shelves at a grocery store
Since immediately before the onset of the COVID-19 outbreak early last year, the price of chicken has risen by 15%.
Getty Images/SOPA Images/LightRocket

Concerning the slow-growing chickens, animal rights advocates have long accused the factory farming sector of harsh tactics such as holding animals in small cages, slaughtering them weeks after birth, and injecting hormones and other substances to increase meat supply.

GAP accreditation requires third-party audits of farms to guarantee that cattle are not produced with antibiotics, additional hormones, or animal byproducts.

However, the makers of most retail chickens claim that feeding slow-growing birds takes more food and water, making the procedure prohibitively expensive. GAP’s list of breeds revealed on Wednesday represents fewer than 10% of the chickens now available on the market.

Whole Foods Market logo on a cardboard box in an aisle inside the grocery store
Whole Foods Market, which is owned by Amazon, is a supporter of the Global Animal Partnership.
Photographs by Getty Images

According to Anne Malleau, executive director of GAP, in order to meet customer demand for welfare-certified meals, poultry farmers would need to rapidly scale up slow-growing chicken operations.

“It’s a balancing act between what people want and what’s accessible,” Malleau said, according to Bloomberg. “This programme will be effective if individuals begin to shift as soon as possible.”

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About the author

Akanksha Jain

Akanksha Jain love to learn new stuff every day. With a background in computer science and a passion for writing, she loves writing for Startup, Business sections of Editorials99.

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