Although their implementation is very small (hopefully due to the logistical nightmare that this entails), Burger King has made a major step in announcing their own, albeit minimal, animal welfare policies.
These policies include:
- It has begun purchasing two percent of its eggs from producers that do not confine laying hens in battery cages. It will more than double the percentage of cage-free eggs it’s using to five percent by the end of the year.
- It has implemented a purchasing preference for cage-free eggs. Such a preference is intended to favor producers that convert away from battery-cage confinement systems.
- It has started purchasing 10 percent of its pork from producers that do not confine breeding pigs in gestation crates, which are too small to allow even ordinary movement. The volume of pork purchases coming from gestation crate-free producers will double to 20 percent by the end of the year.
- It has also implemented a purchasing preference for pork from producers that do not confine breeding sows in gestation crates.
- It has implemented a preference for producers that use controlled atmosphere killing of chickens used for meat. This has been shown to cause significantly less suffering than the conventional method of slaughter used by most of the nation’s poultry slaughterers.
It’s a nice first step, but did you notice which animal was not mentioned in the above list? That’d be the cow, which clearly accounts for a fair amount of Burger King’s business. From my perspective, it’s this segment of the animal welfare debate which is getting downplayed or ignored, even though it’s beef which is the most popular meat product in America. If Burger King (or any other fast food restaurant, come to think of it) wants to provide true actions to their words, changing the beef industry is an absolute requirement, supplier logistics be damned.
As an aside: Is it just me, or does Burger King’s announcement seem more relevant than Wolfgang Puck’s similar one from a week ago? Odd that.