Following a Europe-wide campaign conducted by the Albert Schweitzer Foundation in co‑operation with 21 allied animal welfare organizations and upon discussions with Compassion in World Farming, the fast-food chain Subway has committed to raising its animal welfare standards. The corporation known for its sandwiches will implement the criteria of the European Chicken Commitment by 2026, thus addressing at least the very worst of the problems in chicken farming. The franchise giant owns more than 42,000 restaurants worldwide.
»We are pleased that, after all, Subway has decided to take responsibility and address the problems in chicken farming in Europe as well,« said a delighted Mahi Klosterhalfen, CEO and President of the Albert Schweitzer Foundation. »The statutory minimum standards are not sufficient when it comes to protecting the animals from great agony. However, politicians see no need for action to make the animals’ situation more bearable. Therefore, we will continue to hold companies accountable — preferably in constructive discussions, however, if necessary, also with campaigns.«
In for the long haul — 20 months of campaigning
Since December 2019, the animal protection groups united in the Open Wing Alliance have created public pressure on Subway and they proved to have staying power. More than a quarter of a million people have signed the campaign petition. By means of actions held in front of numerous Subway stores across Europe and by means of online protests, the animal welfare alliance kept calling attention to the suffering of chickens raised for meat, so called broiler chickens. And its organizations called on Subway to stop delaying a statement on the European Chicken Commitment . Back in 2017, the corporation had already promised animal welfare organizations in the U.S. and Canada that it would meet comparable demands. In Europe, however, Subway has failed to make a commitment — until now.
Less overbreeding and more space for chickens
The European Chicken Commitment was launched by the Albert Schweitzer Foundation and 29 other animal protection groups to address the major deficits in chicken farming. The animals often suffer from the consequences of their monstrous growth while being held in overcrowded and desolate barns and they regularly experience brutal and inadequate stunning before slaughter.
The commitment prescribes healthier breeds or breeding lines and provides for more space, opportunities for activity and retreat, and for light in the barns. For the stunning before slaughter, it prohibits head hanging, which causes stress and often broken bones, and not infrequently leads to stunning failure.
More than 450 companies from the U.S. and Europe have already joined the initiative. They include Nestlé and Unilever , major caterers such as Sodexo , and fast-food chains such as Kentucky Fried Chicken , Peter Pane , and now Subway . These companies will implement the criteria of the commitment in all their supply chains by 2026 and agree to having this verified by independent third parties.
Subway ’s official commitment can be accessed here.
To learn more about the European Chicken Commitment, visit: https://welfarecommitments.com/europeletter