McDonald’s has announced a series of new standards the suppliers of chicken to restaurants in 14 of its markets must meet on animal welfare.

The fast-food giant outlined measures in areas such as stunning and the natural behaviour of chickens for suppliers serving its outlets in countries including the US, the UK, Germany and Russia.

McDonald’s said the new commitments cover “more than 70% of our global chicken supply”. The pledges would be “fully implemented on or before 2024”, it asserted.

On stunning, McDonald’s said it would move its sourcing of chicken in the US and Canada to “controlled atmospheric stunning”, a method it said was used “by many approved suppliers for McDonald’s restaurants in Europe and Australia”.

The chain will also insist by 2024 chickens are to be raised in housing environments “that promote natural behaviours such as pecking, perching and dust-bathing”.

By the end of next year, McDonald’s said it would have conducted a study to see how “feasible” it is to roll out the commitments to its other markets.

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