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Dog food brand signs 'Better Chicken Commitment'


Sustainable dog-food brand Beco has won the praise of a leading UK animal welfare charity for becoming the first British pet company to sign the ‘Better Chicken Commitment’.


The pledge, which helps safeguard the welfare of chickens in the food chain, was devised by leading animal protection organisations including the campaigning charity, The Humane League UK. They confirmed today that Beco, Britain’s leading manufacturer of eco-friendly pet products and accessories, has now adopted the BCC’s wide-ranging welfare criteria.


But while commending Beco’s decision to lead the way in the pet sector by signing up, the charity also denounced many leading companies in the human food chain, such as McDonald’s and sandwich franchise Subway, for continuing to still serve chicken with lower welfare standards – even than now pet food.


The Humane League UK said: “Beco has announced that it meets all the criteria of the Better Chicken Commitment (BCC), being one of the few pet food companies that exclusively use free-range meat chickens and slower-growing breeds. 


“However, companies including McDonald’s and Subway are still insisting on sourcing cruelly-produced, fast-growing chicken, lagging behind the progressive steps being taken by many others in the industry.” 


Vicky Bond, Managing Director at The Humane League UK, said: “It is fantastic that Beco is supporting the Better Chicken Commitment, and meeting the higher welfare on all grounds. All too often pet food companies touting ‘free-range’ chicken are in fact using spent hens from the egg industry, hens that are killed at the end of the laying period with slaughter standards that often may not meet the BCC requirements. 


"The Humane League UK applauds Beco for taking the lead in signing up for the Better Chicken Commitment. By being the first UK pet company to do this, Beco is setting an excellent example to others, both across their own industry, the pet sector, and elsewhere.


"We hope now that those other companies will follow Beco's lead and will also sign up for the BCC, helping us to continue raising the standards of chicken welfare both in the UK and internationally.


"By supporting the Better Chicken Commitment, Beco has clearly signalled that making compromises where chickens' welfare is concerned is unacceptable and we commend them for doing that."


Beco Founder George Bramble, who began producing all-natural, responsibly sourced food for dogs in 2016, said: “Beco is delighted to lead the way and be the first in the UK pet industry to sign up to the Better Chicken Commitment.


“We are keen to support The Humane League in their vital work to raise standards of chicken welfare across the world.”


The Better Chicken Commitment criteria aims to improve the lives of broiler chickens reared for meat. These criteria were developed by a group of leading animal protection organisations including The Humane League UK, the RSPCA, and Compassion in World Farming in 2018.


By prohibiting the use of fast-growing breeds, allowing more space and better living conditions as well as reducing distress at slaughter, the BCC eliminates some of the very worst problems inherent in the factory farming of chickens.


As part of their range of dog-food recipes, Beco use chicken reared at a traditional, environmentally conscious farm in East Anglia, where Beco say their chickens roam pastures, enjoy sunlight and eat wild flowers and grubs.  


Beco Founder George Bramble added: “Using free-range chicken is rare in the pet industry and is out of reach of most pet brands. Signing-up to the Better Chicken Commitment is our way of trying to encourage others to raise their basic chicken welfare standards.


“Our customers care about their dogs, but they also care about the way their foods have been produced and the wider environmental impact of their food.


“At our farm, there are small barns whose wide doors are open all day so the chickens can take shelter if the weather turns bad. They live a happier and healthier life. The chickens grow slower and live longer. 


“Also, the poultry processing is RSPCA-assured. The welfare of chickens in our food has always been important to us. Our customers obviously love their dogs, but also have a concern for the wider environment and how our products are produced.”


The Humane League UK say KFC became the first fast-food company to sign up to the Better Chicken Commitment last July, with its commitment set to benefit 72 million chickens in its supply chain. In the year since, the charity says Nando’s, Pizza Hut, Papa John’s, Itsu, Wahaca, and Tortilla have followed in KFC’s steps, but key players McDonald’s and Subway still refuse to commit. 


While Tesco has launched a range of BCC-compliant chicken called ‘Room to Roam,’ it has not committed to the BCC for the vast majority of chicken in its supply chain, and neither have Aldi, Asda, Sainsbury’s, or Morrisons, say The Humane League UK.


Vicky Bond, The Humane League UK’s MD added: “We urge leading restaurants such as McDonald’s and Subway, and our UK retailers to recognise that using breeds of chicken which produce lower-quality meat - while also causing immense suffering to animals - is now completely out of step with public feeling and the direction of the market.” 

Beco, founded 11 years ago, now exports to 50 countries and its company mission statement is: "Love your dog, love our planet". During the last decade, Beco and its products have won, or been shortlisted for, 14 awards for its product ranges, which include its food for dogs, degradable poop bags and toys and accessories, which are made from 100% natural rubber and recycled plastic. 


Famed across the UK and overseas for its eco-friendly, sustainably sourced products, it has in the past year sold Beco toys made from around 1.7 million upcycled plastic bottles. 


“That’s 1.7 million items of plastic litter recycled, not heading for our oceans, not poisoning marine life. We're doing this because we care about the environment and we want to pioneer the way,“ added Bramble.


“We are always innovating to find better, more ethical and sustainable ways to feed our dogs. It’s what we founded the business to do.”


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