Did your chicken come from a house of horrors? If you eat at Chili’s, the answer is probably yes. Dozens of other major food companies, including TGI Fridays, Panera Bread, Chipotle, and Red Robin, have already adopted meaningful chicken welfare policies that require standards established by the Global Animal Partnership (GAP). These standards require chicken suppliers to use only GAP-approved higher-welfare breeds and adhere to GAP's standards for lower maximum stocking density and improved litter, lighting, and environmental enrichments. Chili’s, however, has failed to make a public commitment to these GAP standards—which are crucial for animal welfare. Chili’s failure to adopt the same welfare standards as its competitors means its suppliers are still allowed to slaughter chickens by shackling the birds upside down by their feet, dragging them through electrified water, and cutting open their throats. This is animal cruelty no company with morals should support.

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Tell Kelli Valade, president of Chili's, to stop buying chickens from houses of horrors by adopting the same GAP welfare standards as Chili's competitors.

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Chili’s has long been an industry leader. But by failing to adopt GAP chicken welfare standards, Chili’s is ignoring the public’s booming calls to meaningfully improve the treatment of chickens in its supply chain by falling well short of the commitments made by its competitors. The chickens that Chili’s buys do not meet GAP standards, which are necessary to prevent some of the worst forms of animal cruelty.

Chickens on typical chicken factory farms have been bred to grow so large, so fast, that their fragile legs sometimes can’t support their bodies. Many farmers keep the birds in near darkness so that chickens, unable to see well enough to easily navigate their surroundings, stay still, gaining the weight that will leave many of them unable to move. The final weeks of their lives are often plagued with persistent, severe leg pain.

Because chickens are packed so densely into barns, the litter on which they live becomes incredibly soiled with excrement. As a result, some birds spend nearly all of their time sitting in their own waste. Continuous contact with wet litter causes extreme feather loss and painful sores on chickens’ bodies and feet. The air, noxious with acrid ammonia from the chickens’ waste, even makes breathing difficult. Under these nightmarish conditions, many chickens die from organ failure.

And the lives of those who do survive these houses of horrors all end the same way: At the slaughterhouse, chickens are killed by being shackled upside down and submitted to an electric shock in an often ineffective attempt to render them unconscious before having their throats cut open.

Many of Chili’s leading competitors, including Burger King, Chipotle, and Starbucks have already publicly committed to adopting GAP welfare standards, including third-party auditing to ensure compliance.

As a leading restaurant chain, Chili’s has the power and ethical responsibility to reduce the suffering of millions of birds each year. Please take immediate action to address this issue by pledging to stop buying chickens raised in houses of horrors. Chili’s should publicly adopt the same GAP welfare standards as its competitors, as well as require that its suppliers end some of the worst cruelties associated with slaughter by only processing chickens in a manner that avoids live-dumping and live-shackling by instead utilizing a multi-step controlled-atmosphere system--widely hailed as less cruel. Until you publicly release such a commitment with the same 2024 implementation deadline as your peers, I will not eat at your restaurants.

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Explore the Hidden Lives of Chickens

Chickens are sensitive and intelligent animals with advanced cognitive abilities that rival those of dogs, cats, and even some primates. Studies show that chickens excel at complex mental tasks, can learn from watching each other, and are even able to pass down information from one generation to the next.

Chickens are very social animals who can form deep and meaningful friendships with other birds. Some birds are outgoing and gregarious, while others are more shy and reserved. But all chickens put family first, giving rise to the term “mother hen” to refer to particularly protective parents.

The communication skills of chickens are highly sophisticated and begin developing at an early age. Mother hens will cluck to their chicks while they are still in their eggs, and the unborn chicks will chirp back at them. Researchers know of at least 30 types of vocalizations that chickens make to mean very different things.

The best way for individual consumers to help end this cruelty is to leave animals off their plates.