Panera Bread Co. (NASDAQ: PNRA) announced on Tuesday that will adopt practices by the Global Animal Partnership’s Broiler Chicken Standard. The non-profit has a five step welfare program for livestock that is raised for meat production. The standard dictates that no cages or crates will be used on farms to crowd the animals. Focusing on the living conditions of the animals such as having outdoor access, providing shelter to animals when the weather has a turn for the worst. As well as, no physical alterations such as beak trimming on birds and no toe trimming.
Panera Bread is the first of the national restaurant chains to adopt these practices. “We started 13 years ago with chicken raised without antibiotics because we believed that a national restaurant company could use size and scale to affect change in the marketplace,” CEO of Panera Bread, Ron Shaich said in a statement. “Our journey to reduce antibiotics has taught us that truly transformational change requires moves by many stakeholders. It is our hope that leadership by companies like Panera will continue to be a catalyst for animal welfare across the industry.”
Panera Bread expects to expand the area that chickens will have to live as well as use higher welfare broiler chicken breeds. Implementing natural lighting and bales of hay for the chickens to graze on. Making sure that the chickens are unconscious and stunned before their slaughter. The company expects to implement these changes by 2024.
“As a restaurant serving more than 10 million people a week, we have the platform and purchasing power to encourage positive changes in animal welfare practices. We also have a responsibility to the farmers and ranchers who care for these animals,” said director of food policy and wellness at Panera, Sara Burnett in a statement.
“More Often when you have a higher welfare animal, you have better quality meat and taste,” she said. “We are willing to take the risk and challenge the industry to do better.”