When it comes to protein, chicken is one of the most versatile options in our cooking armoury. From full roast chicken and chicken wings to a chicken salad or aromatic butter chicken curry, there are endless possibilities with this meat.
We’re often encouraged to eat less meat, of a higher quality – but because of responsible chicken farming practices in Canada, choosing this popular protein is actually a sound option for ethically-conscious eaters. Since chicken is often a go-to for meat-eaters, it’s important to align our shopping habits to ensure we’re making sustainable purchases. Luckily for us, that’s as simple as making sure we're buying Canadian farmed chicken.
Canadian chicken farmers deliver every time thanks to animal care, food safety and sustainability excellence programming that all farmers are required to follow. From farm-to-table, regulations govern everything from ensuring conditions in the barn are just right for the arrival of chicks, to health care and bird-handling, all the way through to transportation.
All chickens raised for meat are “free-run,” meaning they are able to move around freely, and never raised in cages. They have unlimited access to food and water and are often raised in climate controlled barns, which allows farmers to produce chicken year round.
You needn't worry about picking "hormone-free" chicken. The use of hormones and steroids in raising poultry has been banned in Canada since the 1960s – farmers have other ways to protect bird health and welfare while creating safe and affordable food.
The way your chicken is raised matters, not just because we care about what goes into our food. Over the last 40 years, Canadian chicken farmers have implemented practices on the farm to reduce their environmental impact, resulting in a 37 per cent lower carbon footprint, a 37 per cent reduction in non-renewable energy consumption and 45 per cent less water consumption.
Canada is leading the way for sustainable chicken farming practices – per kilogram of protein, Canadian chicken has a lower footprint than that of the other livestock commodities produced in North America, and it has the smallest environmental impact when compared to chicken in different regions across the world. Plus, that same kilogram of Canadian chicken is created using 62% renewable energy, making it a smarter choice for the environment.
And it’s not just sustainable for the planet – chicken farming in Canada is positively affecting the livelihood of its workers, too. Over 90 per cent of Canadian chicken farms are family owned and operated and 90 per cent of Canadian chicken farmers pay their staff a salary over the provincial minimum wage.
Buying Canadian chicken is not just a better choice than the alternative – thanks to farmers' hard work and commitment to ethical and environmental standards, it's the sustainable and responsible choice.
The next time you’re shopping, look for the ‘Raised by a Canadian Farmer’ label to ensure that you’re buying fresh, safe, high-quality Canadian chicken that you can feel good about.