Compass North America—the US’s largest food service company, and a branch of the largest food service company in the world—has a dark secret. The food that it supplies to schools, hospitals, restaurants, and arenas throughout the country comes from factory farms that perpetuate the worst forms of animal cruelty. These industrial farms condemn millions of pigs and chickens to a lifetime of misery—confined in dark sheds, trapped in their own waste, and suffering from excruciating injuries every day.
Years ago, Compass received widespread praise for adopting animal welfare policies that promised to end this horrific abuse. But now, the company has yet to make significant progress to fulfill all of them. The company’s failure to live up to its public commitments harms the millions of animals suffering in its supply chains, misleads consumers, and puts its clients’ reputations at risk.
As more institutions prioritize environmental, social, and government (ESG) responsibility when making food service choices, Compass’s failure to follow through on its animal welfare policies is especially concerning. The company claims to have the “highest ethical and professional standards at all times,” and assures its clients of a commitment to “honesty, respect, fairness and a commitment to open dialogue and transparency.” Despite these claims, the company refuses to be honest about its animal welfare progress—deceiving clients who expect higher standards from their food service provider.
Compass needs to keep its word—for the animals, and for its customers. Tell Compass that it’s time to make meaningful progress for animals and end the abuse, once and for all.
Chickens raised for Compass North America's suppliers still endure the worst forms of abuse imaginable. These factory farms force birds into a life of suffering from day one by selectively breeding them to grow so large, so fast, they can barely support their own weight. Their explosive growth rate predisposes chickens raised for meat—known in the industry as “broiler chickens”—to a host of horrific diseases and injuries, including white striping disease. Some chickens can’t even stand up or move, leaving them trapped on a filthy concrete floor, lying in their own waste, crammed inside dark sheds.
After four to six weeks of suffering through these conditions, a chicken’s short life comes to an end at the slaughterhouse, where they will experience even more gruesome treatment. Birds are shackled upside-down by their ankles while fully conscious—a practice that is incredibly stressful for the birds. Because stunning methods are outdated and frequently ineffective, when slaughterhouses slit their throats and submerge them in scalding tanks, birds are far too often still conscious when they enter the scalding tank, leaving them to be boiled alive.
In 2017, Compass said it would put a stop to these horrific practices and adopt the Better Chicken Commitment (BCC), an animal welfare policy that spares chickens from the worst forms of abuse on factory farms. But, five years have passed, and the company has yet to show tangible progress toward ending the abuse—and countless animals are suffering because of it.
Mother pigs are loving, emotional, and fiercely protective of their babies—but factory farms abuse and exploit pigs like they are nothing more than machines. And, sadly, Compass won’t take a hard stance against these farms’ cruelty. Suppliers keep pregnant pigs—known as breeding sows—in crates that are barely bigger than their own bodies. A sow will spend the entirety of her four-month pregnancy in a seven-foot by two-foot gestation crate, restricted so tightly that she can’t even turn around. The stress of confinement weakens a pig’s cardiac function, immune system, and bone strength, and the pressure of the cage against her body leaves her with painful sores and abrasions. Gestation crates also cause severe mental anguish, with female pigs exhibiting signs of boredom and even depression.
This intensive confinement is so cruel that several states, including Massachusetts and California, have voted to make gestation crates illegal, and large food companies have followed suit to become crate-free.
Compass vowed that it would eliminate gestation crates from its supply chain by 2017. Five years have passed, and the company still supports factory farms that subject mother pigs and their babies to this egregious cruelty. Compass Group needs to update its commitment to ending this abuse as soon as possible and accelerate its progress toward sourcing 100% crate-free pork.
Some Compass suppliers still trap egg-laying hens in battery cages for the majority of their lives, packing a typical hen into a space the size of an iPad with up to ten other birds. These archaic cages confine birds so tightly that they can't even stretch out their wings, let alone engage in any of their natural behaviors. The cages’ abrasive wire-mesh material digs into the chickens’ feet and feathers, leaving them with painful lesions and even lifelong foot deformities. As a result of their intensive confinement, intelligent, sensitive hens spend every day in physical and mental agony.
Compass Group had made strong initial progress on its cage-free egg policy in past years, and had even completely reached its 100% cage-free goal; however, Compass’s cage-free numbers have gone down over the past year. The company is citing supply chain disruptions for backsliding—but this does not exempt Compass from fulfilling its 100% cage-free egg promise, especially when many of its competitors have fulfilled theirs.
Caring consumers spoke up for the animals—and Compass Group listened! Compass has now released detailed plans for following through on its animal welfare policies. Compass Group still has work to do, but it's a major step in the right direction. Thank you for supporting this campaign!