Multinational fast-food chains have scored poorly in the promotion of welfare of farmed chicken in Sub-Saharan Africa to the detriment of the environment and human health, said a report launched in Nairobi Wednesday.
The Pecking Order 2021 report, compiled by World Animal Protection, said that seven fast-food restaurants that have set bases in Africa have been lethargic in adhering to chicken welfare standards.
“Commitment by global fast-food chains toward the welfare of chicken in Africa is not coming fast enough, hence threatening food safety and health of consumers,” said Victor Yamo, farming campaign manager of World Animal Protection Africa Office.
Dozens of international fast-food outlets were assessed in terms of their commitment to environmentally sound chicken rearing practices in the report.
The report found these companies were keen on adhering to chicken welfare standards that include humane slaughter and minimal use of antibiotics in the European and North American markets as opposed to Africa.
According to the report, out of five fast-food chains that have a strong presence in Kenya, three scored poorly in reporting on their commitment to the welfare of poultry reared in a caged environment.
“There is a significant difference in chicken welfare commitments made globally when compared to those made in Africa where companies ranked poorly in tier six,” read the report.
According to the report, demand for improved chicken rearing practices among consumers has shot up globally amid concern over the spread of disease-causing pathogens and threats to the environment. Other drivers of ecologically sound poultry farming practices include a quest for climate resilience, protection of biodiversity and eradication of antimicrobial resistance. And a shift to plant-based proteins by health-conscious urban consumers has necessitated improved chicken rearing practices by small-scale and industrial farmers.
The report suggested that the enactment of new policies and regulations combined with awareness targeting farmers and consumers is the key to improving chicken welfare standards in the fast-growing African market.