Millions of Chickens Will Benefit from Panera’s New Welfare Policy

December 20, 2016

Today is a day to celebrate. One of the country's leading restaurant chains made a very important move that will greatly improve the lives of millions of farmed animals.

After several months working with The Humane League, along with several other groups, Panera Bread officially announced its new chicken welfare policy. Panera's policy for suppliers impacts the type of chickens raised, the amount of room they have, the quality of their environment and the way they are slaughtered. These changes will take place by 2024.

Chickens raised for meat represent the largest number of farmed animals in the US—a staggering 88.7%. That's billions of birds every year. To address the immense and systemic suffering, The Humane League began focusing on chicken welfare earlier this year, with a comprehensive approach to effect change.

The first companies to commit to better standards were food service providers Compass and Aramark. Panera followed suit today. And, The Humane League is in active negotiations with other major US companies around this issue.

Panera has publicly invited other companies to follow its lead in promoting better treatment for farmed animals.

"It is our hope that leadership by companies like Panera will continue to be a catalyst for animal welfare across the industry," says Ron Shaich, CEO and founder of Panera Bread.

This is a watershed moment for farmed animal protection—we plan to savor it and use this victory to fuel our continued work to reduce the suffering of the most numerous and least protected animal on factory farms.