In November, FRC co-hosted a workshop with civil society members of the Eating Better alliance to launch our investigation of the broiler supply chain. Consumers are often urged to switch from beef to chicken as a lower-impact, healthier, cheaper alternative (e.g. recently in a report by the Committee on Climate Change). Our collaborative research project aims to unpack this advice.
The workshop raised many questions:
- Are there reliable ways of measuring the impacts of broiler feed chains?
- Do slaughterhouses use the most efficient killing methods?
- Does the nutritional profile of a factory-reared chicken differ from that of a high-welfare bird?
- Are certification schemes a realistic way to drive sustainability improvements in the sector?
- Is chicken v beef the right choice – should it be low-welfare chicken v high welfare beef?
- How might post-Brexit trade deals affect UK supply and consumption?
Underlying all these questions, there was felt to be a lack of data – much of the information about the sector is ether old, or collected and held by the industry itself.
We will be exploring these issues and more in the New Year. If you would like to contribute to or be kept informed about this project, contact Rosalind.Sharpe@city.ac.uk.