International agency issues alarm over Kenya’s broiler chicken consumption

International agency issue alarm over Kenya’s broiler chicken consumption

Fast-food companies in Kenya are putting millions of people at risk of developing weakened immune systems and other serious diseases as a result of raising broiler chickens in inhumane conditions and overusing drugs, according to a report by World Animal Protection Africa. The report reveals that companies overuse antibiotics and other drugs to treat and force broilers to grow faster in crowded places.

“The animal resource industry, in collaboration with the government (the Directorate of Vet Services, the Directorate of Livestock Production, and the Kenya Bureau of Standards, among others), should review the food animals’ welfare to align it with the globally recognized farms,” said Tennyson Williams, Country Director of World Animal Protection Africa.

The United States National Library of Medicine says that the overuse of antibiotics has led to an antimicrobial resistance challenge worldwide, which has caused severe infections, complications, longer hospital stays, and increased mortality.

The annual report shows global brands have neglected the welfare of animals in Kenyan farms as compared to how strictly they protected their animals abroad.

“For the global fast-food brands, despite their franchises in other geographical regions having animal welfare policies and having made commitments to improve broiler chicken welfare, the same did not apply to their franchises in Kenya,” said Williams.

The report said that big brands continued to ignore urgent consumer demands and animal welfare science, subjecting billions of chickens to unimaginable suffering. These inquisitive and social animals often live their entire lives in chronic pain, suffering from lameness, skin lesions, and even heart failure caused by selective breeding, which leads to an unnaturally fast growth rate.

The report said that these companies know that consumers are not interested in paying for animal suffering and are increasingly holding companies accountable for how animals used in their supply chains are treated. “There is no justification for profiting from the pain of billions of sentient animals,” said Williams.

According to the report, Germany is the best-performing country, with an average overall percentage score of 37 percent, broken down into 60 percent for commitments and targets and 13 percent for performance reporting. France had the second-highest average overall percentage score at 36 percent, followed by Spain at 23 percent, Italy at 19 percent, and the United States at 19 percent. Australia and Canada scored 13 percent, while Croatia scored two percent, followed by Kenya and Thailand at three percent.

“Raising animal welfare standards will reduce the need for routine antibiotics used to prevent disease among animals kept in appalling conditions, thereby helping to lower the risk of antibiotic resistance in humans. These companies are failing people, animals, and the planet,” said Williams.

The report urged companies to prioritize animal welfare policies and commitments and to publicly report on their progress. It also called on the Kenyan government to take action and work with the animal resource industry to review the welfare of food animals to align it with globally recognized standards.

Consumers also have a crucial role to play in ending animal cruelty in the meat supply chain by choosing products from companies that prioritize animal welfare, the report said. It also recommended reducing meat consumption as the most effective way to prevent animal suffering and reduce the risk of antibiotic resistance.

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