On October 12, 2017 Nestlé USA announced that by 2024 they would
“strive to source all of the broiler chickens we use as ingredients for our U.S. food portfolio from sources meeting a higher standard of animal welfare, building on our global Commitment on Farm Animal Welfare.”
More specifically, Nestlé has committed to sourcing from farmers who raise chicken with slower growth rates, good leg health, reduced stocking rates, and further compliance with standards approved by the Global Animal Partnership (GAP), a non-profit “registered as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and brings together a diverse group with the common goal of improving farm animal farm animal welfare standards around the world.”
Nestlé acknowledges that this commitment is “complex,” “require[s] investment and time, and the transition over the next seven years must be done in a sustainable and cost-effective way.”
There are six different levels or steps in GAP standards, that increasingly require significant investments by farmers who must modify their existing housing facilities and decrease the number of animals that can be raised in the existing space.
One of the concerns about laws that require changes to husbandry standards for farm animals are the related costs. For example, California’s 2008 ballot initiative, Prevention of Farmed Animal Cruelty Act (“Prop 2”), funded in large part by the Human Society of the United States, requires egg-laying hens, veal calves and hogs to have sufficient room to lie down, stand up, fully extend their limbs, and turn around freely in their enclosures.
Despite the passage of Prop 2, HSUS is once again leading the effort to require additional changes to the law in California. The recently proposed initiative would prohibit all sales of veal or pork in California unless produced in a manner that complies with California’s law.
The proposed initiative would also require that all eggs produced and sold in California must come from cage-free birds as of December 21, 2021. The farmers in or outside of California who had modified their former housing systems to be in compliance with Prop 2 will now have to make additional significant investments in their housing systems again. Such required continual modifications of animal housing facilities are not cost-effective nor sustainable.
Perhaps this is the point, since the goals of HSUS and many other animal rights organizations are to eliminate animal agriculture entirely.