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G.A.P. Releases Initial List of Eligible Broiler Chicken Breeds for Animal Welfare Certification

Good news! G.A.P. just announced our initial list of approved breeds based on data from the University of Guelph study.

As part of G.A.P.’s mission to impact broiler chicken welfare through our Better Chicken Project, G.A.P. funded a comprehensive, independent research study performed by scientists at the University of Guelph, as the first step to creating a research-based framework for reinventing the modern-day broiler.  The Guelph study, the largest, most comprehensive multidisciplinary study to-date, included more than 7,500 broiler chickens from 16 different genetic strains. Results from the study were used to guide the development of G.A.P.’s Broiler Chicken Assessment Protocol and initial list of Better Chicken eligible breeds, which were both announced today on our website.  

What are next steps?

Breeds deemed eligible through G.A.P.’s Broiler Chicken Assessment Protocol, and use of the protocol, will be transitioned into the G.A.P. program as detailed in  G.A.P.’s forthcoming broiler chicken standards v4.0.

“Our mission is continuous improvement of animal welfare, which means we are constantly re-evaluating how we can use our standards to facilitate and support change,” said Anne Malleau, Executive Director of G.A.P.. “The study – a multidisciplinary science-based approach to understanding broiler welfare – both confirmed and informed our thinking and provided the data needed to create a process for our program to bring a ‘better broiler’ to the marketplace.”

Breed is critical to positive animal welfare outcomes

G.A.P.’s tiered animal welfare standards have always included requirements for the management, diet,  environment and behavioral needs of the birds. Consideration of the breeds used (i.e. genetics), which is well documented to be an integral component to positive animal welfare outcomes, has also been included in the G.A.P. 5-Step standard for meat chickens, but G.A.P. wanted to switch to an evidence-based approach for determining breed eligibility for its program. The initial list of breeds (listed on our Better Chicken Project page) that pass our new, innovative Broiler Breed Protocol (also released today and available on our Better Chicken Project page) is not meant to be an exhaustive list. Breeding companies are invited to contact G.A.P. to  test additional breeds using G.A.P.’s  new protocol through a G.A.P. accredited research facility. A link to a form to have the research facility approved by G.A.P. is also available on our Better Chicken Project page.

Want to learn more?

G.A.P. has published a broiler chicken blog series outlining key aspects of the University of Guelph study, as well as a Q&A blog breaking down several consumer questions surrounding the Better Chicken Project. Here are some articles that you may find helpful for context around G.A.P.’s role in changing the way we raise chickens.

Why should you care about broiler chicken welfare?

What makes a better broiler?

Are today’s Broiler Chickens too inactive? 

Interested in future updates?

Check our Better Chicken Project page frequently, join our newsletter, and follow us on social media. We are one step closer to enjoying better chicken at our favorite restaurants and food service establishments! Thanks for your support.