Animal Equality, November 30, 2020
After four years of campaigning and negotiations, South America’s biggest grocery chain has finally committed to going 100% cage-free in Brazil by 2028. The company, called GPA, also committed to ban gestation crates for pigs by 2028 and to improve conditions for chicken and cows raised for meat sold in the stores.
MILLIONS OF CHICKENS IMPACTED: GPA is the second-largest retailer in Brazil, so this new policy is a great step in the right direction for farmed animals. We estimate with 5.7 million hens will be impacted by this policy, which was achieved in part by a variety of tactics, including mobile billboards and grassroots actions at 45 different GPA store locations.
“This commitment is the result of a lot of work by animal protection organizations, but it is also the result of the mobilization of consumers who joined us to demand more responsible behavior from Grupo Pão de Açúcar.”, Says Carla Lettieri, new Executive Director of Animal Equality Brazil.
“We hope that GPA’s attitude will inspire other companies because there are still millions of chickens suffering in cages around the world.”
Image: Animal Equality
A STEP IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION: Chickens are sensitive animals who are able to feel emotions and pain, but unfortunately many of them still live confined and crowded into tiny wire cages where they spend their whole lives without ever stepping on the floor or being able to open their wings.
This confinement is not only physically harmful, but is also psychological torture for the birds, and often leads to self-mutilation and even cannibalism.
It is worth remembering that free from cages does not mean free from cruelty. The egg industry is inherently cruel and denies animals everything that’s natural and important to them, and the best way to help hens is by simply avoiding eggs.
However, banning cages is an important step to reduce the suffering of animals and deserves to be celebrated.
YOU MAKE A DIFFERENCE: This milestone wouldn’t have been possible without the work and support of thousands of volunteers across Brazil. You can help animals with campaigns in the United States, too, by signing petitions, taking action on social media, and at in-person demonstrations.
Join The Animal Protectors, our online group of volunteers, and assist our corporate outreach team in making changes to our broken food system.
And I mean…It’s a huge industry!
Brazil ranks second among the largest poultry producing countries behind the USA and is the most important force in the international poultry trade.
In 2016, 5.86 billion chickens were slaughtered there. Brazil exports meat to over 160 countries.
And another number: eleven percent of water consumption in Brazil is accounted for by animal breeding.
For the European Union, Brazil is the most important country of origin of imported chicken.
Brazilian chickens make up about 60 percent of imports, of which 76.2 percent are processed and salted poultry. The majority of deliveries in the EU go to Belgium, Germany, and Great Britain.
However, these European countries are not necessarily the countries where chicken meat is ultimately sold and consumed.
The Brazilian poultry industry is dominated locally by two multinational corporations: BRF and JBS.
BRF is the largest poultry company in the country, with 105,000 employees, and is largely owned by a mutual fund.
JBS is a Brazilian public company, the largest company in the country, but also the largest meat producer in the world.
In March 2017 there was the so-called rotten meat scandal: the Brazilian federal police uncovered hygiene violations in 21 industrial plants for the slaughter of cattle, pigs, and chickens.
According to the police, the investigation found that corrupt health officials and inspectors from the Brazilian Ministry of Agriculture covered the sale of rotten meat in some slaughterhouses.
The largest poultry exporting companies BRF and JBS were also involved in the scandal.
However, just a few weeks after the allegations became known, most of the major import markets – including the European Union – had resumed trading with the Brazilian poultry industry.
When you consider these meat production conditions in the country, it is really a big step that GPA abolishes the cages.
Even in 7 years, better later than never.
My best regards to all, Venus