SUPPLY CHAIN INTEGRITY
We recognize that positive change in supply chain integrity requires a thoughtful understanding of and, at times, a balancing of the impact on our supply chain, the environment and our guests. Progress on this front requires significant expense and, because the investment is considerable, we work with the broader restaurant industry and supplier community to help effect change. We are partnering with food suppliers and retailers throughout the industry to help us find solutions to enhance animal welfare that are environmentally sound, economically viable and sustainable.
Humane Treatment of Animals
Our animal welfare policy is based on the best available science at any given time, in the context of good judgment and ethical behavior, and we work toward continuous improvements to ensure our policy continues to align with or exceed industry best practices. BJ’s will continue to listen to and take into consideration various points of view from our key constituencies (guests, team members, shareholders, suppliers, interest groups, government agencies, academia, the communities where we operate and others) to further improve the effectiveness of our animal welfare policy.
We require our suppliers to utilize animal welfare protocols to prevent the mistreatment of animals, including when and where they are raised, cared for, transported and processed. We expect our suppliers to abide by all applicable laws, regulations and industry standards relating to animal welfare.
We are committed to working with our suppliers to drive toward continuous improvement by addressing farm animal welfare practices such as confinement, painful procedures and rapid growth. We request that our suppliers strive for an environment that is consistent with the Five Freedoms of animal welfare developed by the Farm Animal Welfare Committee (FAWC).
We strive to work with suppliers who, along with their producers and vendors, demonstrate strict adherence to the protocols created by industry groups and associations with the input of animal welfare experts.
At BJ’s discretion, we remove previously approved suppliers who are in non-compliance.
Best Management Practices for Livestock
All beef and pork suppliers must pass an annual audit administered by an accredited auditing company or firm and adhere to animal welfare standards prescribed by the American Meat Institute (AMI) and National Pork Board (NPB), including those set forth below:
- Animals must be transported in a manner that promotes good health and condition, including adequate protection from inclement weather and sufficient area for movement. Trailers must be cleaned regularly and have slip-resistant ramps.
- Animals must be allowed to rest following unloading, and the unloading area must be in good condition, free of broken gates, sharp edges or other impairments that could cause injury.
Holding and Handling Prior to Processing
- Holding pens must be cleaned regularly, allow animals to move freely and have slip-resistant floors.
- Animals in holding pens must have unrestricted access to clean, potable water as well as feed, if they are to be held in them for more than 24 hours.
- Holding pens must provide animals’ adequate protection from inclement weather and extreme temperatures.
- Animals must be processed in a humane manner that adheres to the manufacturing standards established by state and federal governments as well as the industry trade associations mentioned above.
Best Management Practices for Poultry and Eggs
BJ’s partners with our poultry and egg suppliers, who must pass annual accredited audits, to ensure they manage their flocks in accordance with animal welfare standards set forth by the National Chicken Council (NCC) and United Egg Producers (UEP), including those set forth below:
- Hatcheries must have systems that prevent injuries to the birds.
- Hatcheries must provide ventilation, lighting and warmth for birds.
- Laying houses must provide adequate feed, water, ventilation, lighting, warmth, and space.
- All birds must be housed in an environment with appropriate space and enrichments.
- Birds must be provided feed that promotes good health.
- Suppliers must provide veterinary care to their birds.
- Suppliers must transport and handle all birds in a manner that promotes good health and condition, including providing sufficient space in transport cages for comfortable movement and protection from inclement weather.
- Suppliers must maintain and secure cages to the trucks to prevent birds from falling.
- Birds must be handled carefully to protect them from injury during loading and unloading.
- Holding areas must maintain a comfortable temperature and ensure adequate ventilation for the birds.
- Cages must be handled carefully at all times to protect the birds. Subdued lighting must be used to keep birds calm.
In response to evolving research on cage-free housing environments, and to our guests’ changing expectations and preferences, we have informed our egg suppliers of our expectation that they fully transition to cage-free eggs by 2025.
We regularly review our animal welfare principles and policies as new science and information become available to ultimately ensure the Five Freedoms of care through the life of farm animals. We will continue working with animal welfare experts, growers, suppliers, competitors and other market participants to identify cost-effective solutions for our industry. With the help of others in the food service industry, we aim to achieve the following in alignment with the requirements of the Global Animal Partnership’s Broiler Chicken Standard by 2024:
- Use new broiler breeds recognized as having higher welfare outcomes
- Provide birds more space (reduced stocking density)
- Offer improved environments, including litter, lighting and enrichment
- Ensure birds are rendered unconscious using multi-step controlled atmospheric stunning
We will ask our suppliers to seek third-party verification of these practices. We will report on progress against this standard on a regular basis, as well as progress on other animal welfare commitments.
Best Management Practices for Dairy Animals
The National Dairy Animal Well-Being Initiative, which is a producer-led coalition representing every sector of the dairy industry, has developed the following principles and guidelines. BJ’s supports these guidelines and requires our suppliers to embrace them. Guidelines include:
- Animals should have access to a nutritionally adequate diet and clean, fresh water and be fed in a way that promotes health and reduces the risk of disease.
- All calves should receive colostrum or colostrum replacer and be fed in a way that promotes health and reduces the risk of disease.
- The health of all animals should be maintained through preventive care programs augmented by rapid diagnosis and treatment when necessary.
- Dairy operations should have management protocols for painful procedures and conditions, and for special needs cattle, such as those with a physical or medical condition that requires additional care and/or monitoring.
- To promote animal well-being, animal caretakers should be adequately trained, follow protocols and have access to record systems to meet the requirements of their position.
- The operation should have a herd health plan as well as training and protocols for handling, transporting and caring and euthanasia for cattle for all ages and health conditions.
Housing and Facilities
- Facilities should be designed, constructed and maintained to provide and promote animal health, comfort and safety.
- All cattle should be given space to stand, lie down and turn around without difficulty, provided an environment that is clean and dry and protected from seasonal weather extremes.
Handling, Movement, and Transportation
- All animals should be handled, moved and transported in a manner that reduces the risk of injury, discomfort or disease. Facilities should be designed and maintained so animals can be moved in a manner that reduces the risk of slips, falls and collisions. Employees should be trained to follow appropriate handling, movement and transportation protocols.
Third Party Audits
- Dairy animal well-being programs should include third-party verification to assure the program is able to demonstrate commitment to meeting ethical obligation to provide for the well-being of animals in the US dairy industry.
Best Management Practices for Fish & Seafood
We ask our suppliers to source fish from harvesters who have committed to and demonstrate humane treatment of sea animals. Seafood suppliers and processors must have welfare policies that address their commitment to the humane treatment of fish and sea animals, and their supplier audits must include animal welfare criteria.