Changing the way our food is raised.
As the poultry industry has pushed for greater meat yields and lower cost, these efficiencies have created unintended consequences for the health and welfare of the modern day broiler chicken. So, where do we go from here?
Introducing the Better Chicken Project. A collaborative project initiated by G.A.P. to establish a research-based framework for reinventing the modern day broiler chicken. G.A.P. has always been a leader in farm animal welfare, so we knew it was time to take the necessary steps to drive change for the chicken industry.
What is the Better Chicken Project?
G.A.P.’s Better Chicken Project is a collaboration of scientists, broiler chicken breeding companies, producers, buyers, and animal welfare advocates with a common purpose: the development of a research-based framework for assessing animal welfare of broiler chicken breeds.
Why are we doing this?
G.A.P. wants to positively impact the lives of animals raised for food. In this case, we want broiler chickens to be able to actively engage with their environment and “act like chickens”. We believe that breed is the foundation to ensuring good welfare.
Did someone say “research”?
Yes, we did. G.A.P.’s standards have always been based in science so when it came to testing broiler breeds for animal welfare outcomes, we let the science do the talking. G.A.P. initiated the project by funding an independent, large-scale research study at the University of Guelph in Guelph, Ontario Canada, one of the foremost research facilities on farm animal welfare. The study was the largest of its kind, covering broiler chicken health, welfare, and production, including over 7,500 broiler chickens from 16 different genetic strains. The study was designed and conducted independently at the University of Guelph and was the first multi-disciplinary research project of chicken welfare to include carefully chosen indicators such as behavior, physiology, immunology, production, and meat quality together into one research project. If you’d like to view a summary of the study, click here.
The study was completed in 2020, after which we formed a multi-stakeholder Technical Working Group, including breeding companies, producers, scientists, and animal advocates, to assist us in taking the research results from the Guelph study, and using those to help us develop a protocol. Breeds tested at a G.A.P. accredited research facility that pass the protocol will be eligible for certification under our standard (G.A.P.’s 5-Step® Standard for Broiler Chickens v4.0).
Please note that this list is not meant to be exhaustive. We invite all producers and breeding companies to test any breeds they believe will meet our Better Chicken Project protocol. The only requirement is that the breeds must be tested using G.A.P.’s Broiler Chicken Assessment Protocol at a G.A.P. accredited research facility. See below for more details.
Eligible Broiler Breeds
Once we established a protocol that allowed us to score the breeds across a variety of parameters, we utilized the results from the University of Guelph study to evaluate the test breeds using our protocol to establish the first list of eligible breeds.
It’s important for you to understand that we scored and analyzed the strains blindly. At no point in our analysis did we know which specific breeds were associated with which results. All strains submitted were assigned a letter and we performed our analysis blindly so as not to introduce bias into the results.
Below is a list of broiler chicken breeds that meet G.A.P.’s minimum eligibility score. The first column below details the approved broiler breeds. Approved breeds are the result of a specific male and female parent stock combination (second and third columns). Please note that it is the specific cross as listed below that is approved – not the individual female and male parent lines and not the reverse combination.
Approved Broiler Breeds
(i.e., approved crosses)
|From Parent Stock:|
|Female Line||Male Line|
|Aviagen Ranger Classic||Aviagen Ranger||Aviagen Classic|
|Aviagen Ranger Gold||Aviagen Ranger||Aviagen Gold|
|Aviagen Ranger Premium||Aviagen Ranger||Aviagen Premium|
|Aviagen Rowan Ranger||Aviagen Ranger||Aviagen Rowan|
|Cobb-Sasso 200 (CS200)||Cobb 500||Sasso C441|
|Cooks Venture Pioneer||Cooks Venture Pioneer||Cooks Venture Pioneer|
|Hubbard JA757||Hubbard JA57||Hubbard M77|
|Hubbard JA787||Hubbard JA87||Hubbard M77|
|Hubbard JACY87||Hubbard JA87||Hubbard ColorYield|
|Hubbard REDBRO||Hubbard REDBRO||Hubbard M77|
|Hubbard Redbro M||Hubbard Redbro M (mini)||Hubbard Redbro|
We welcome breeding companies to submit their breeds for testing to determine if they meet our G.A.P. breed protocol requirements. You can view the breed protocol document here.
If a primary breeding company has a breed NOT on the list, and are interested in having a breed tested, it must be tested at a G.A.P. accredited facility, using the G.A.P. protocol.
Universities, colleges and research facilities interested in becoming a G.A.P. accredited facility are asked to complete a pre-application form. This pre-application will assess the facility against the requirements of the protocol. If the facility is deemed to have the essential requirements necessary to complete the protocol in full, completion of G.A.P.’s full facility accreditation application will be requested.
Click the button below to access and submit the facility pre-application.
I’m a producer. What does this mean to me?
If you are a new supplier or producer interested in getting your operations certified, please email us at email@example.com and a G.A.P. Team member will be in touch. We look forward to working with you!
If you are a current G.A.P. partner raising a breed which is NOT on the list, talk to your breeding company to have their testing facility complete the testing pre-application here. If you are currently raising a breed which is NOT on the list and you’re not sure what to do, email the G.A.P. team to set-up a call.
Please note: we understand that changes like this take time and effort. We will be publishing a more formal implementation plan when our new Broiler Chicken Standards v 4.0 are released in 2022.
I’m a company. What does this mean to me?
If you are a company who has made a commitment to the Better Chicken Commitment to source G.A.P. Certified chicken under the new standard, thank you! We look forward to working with you. Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and a G.A.P. Team member will be in touch. We want to make sure you are included in our implementation plan communications going forward, so please subscribe to our newsletter to make sure you stay in the loop.
I’m a consumer. What does this mean to me?
If you’re a consumer, your support for better chicken matters! Lots of companies are committing to sourcing G.A.P. Animal Welfare Certified chicken so that’s great news for chicken lovers! Please help us spread the word! Join our mailing list below, follow us on social media – Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram, and tell a friend. Thank you for shopping for the G.A.P. label and helping us #MakeitGAP!
Check out our Blog!
We continue to post about different aspects of the Better Chicken Project and the challenges associated with the modern-day broiler. If you’re interested in learning more, check out these blogs on the history of broiler chickens, the difference between slow-growing and fast-growing chickens, and the activity levels of the birds in our study.
12.01.21 – G.A.P. Releases Initial List of Eligible Broiler Chicken Breeds for Animal Welfare Certification
09.08.20 – G.A.P. announces University of Guelph completion of research study “In Pursuit of a Better Broiler”
06.17.17 – G.A.P. Provides Funding for University of Guelph Study in Support of Better Chicken Welfare
03.02.16 – Our Commitment to Improving Bird Welfare with 100% Slower-growing Chicken Breeds