RSPCA bans chicken ‘thinning’ for Assured label

The RSPCA has banned the use of ‘thinning’ in chickens, claiming it will help fight campylobacter, as well as ensure the welfare of the birds.

The ban, which will come into force in the New Year, will see an end to the procedure of removing a proportion of chickens from a shed for slaughter earlier than the rest. Any chicken supplier wanting to use the RSPCA Assured label will have to ban its use.
A study by the European Food Safety Authority reported that thinning is linked to increased rates of campylobacter in chickens, said the RSPCA. Thinning is commonly used within the chicken industry to maximise the number of birds that can be reared within a shed over a given period of time.

The RSPCA said this could be a stressful experience for the birds as their feed is removed to allow catching teams to round them up more easily.
“Once again the RSPCA is leading the way on farm animal welfare by setting these pioneering standards for indoor-reared chickens and we hope other farm assurance schemes will follow suit,” said Dr Marc Cooper, chicken welfare specialist at the RSPCA. “Sadly, welfare is often compromised to produce chicken as cheaply as possible. Consumers concerned about farm animal welfare who want to make a difference should look for the RSPCA Assured label.”

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