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At M&S, we have a long and proud history of maintaining high chicken welfare standards, topping the annual Business Benchmark on Farm Animal Welfare since 2013 and being recognised for our Oakham standards by the RSPCA and Compassion in World Farming. 

But it’s as important to our business as it is to our customers to continue raising the bar and leading the way in the industry. That’s why in 2017, we became the first retailer to pledge our support to the Better Chicken commitment. 

This higher welfare benchmark, launched by global animal welfare organisations, requires retailers to use slower growing breeds with more space, natural light and pecking objects by 2026 – most of which we meet for our Oakham chickens (and all for our organic and free-range products). 

Since 2017, we’ve been focussed on working towards our target, looking at how we can support suppliers and make changes to how we farm and produce our products, without compromising on our trusted quality and value for customers. 

This week, we saw our hard work come to fruition for the first time with the launch of our brand-new range of higher welfare chicken, Hubbard. In line with the Better Chicken commitment, our Hubbard chickens are corn-fed and grown for 25% longer, which means they lead healthier and more active lives. And like all M&S fresh chickens, they have access to natural light and pecking objects. 

It’s a great start and we’re proud of the work we’ve done so far, but we recognise we still have a long way to go to reach our 2026 goal. Over the next few years, we’ll continue working with suppliers, NGOs and the wider industry to keep on improving welfare standards and delivering great quality chicken for our customers. 

Read more about our animal welfare standards here