Burger King Decrees: Better Treatment for Some Farm Animals The Humane Society of the United States applauds Burger King's historic

pledge to improve its farm animal welfare standards



    WASHINGTON, March 28 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Burger King announced a
 phase-in of new, industry-leading animal welfare policies today, in what
 The Humane Society of the United States applauded as an historic advance
 for the fast-food sector. The HSUS has been talking with the fast-food
 giant for more than a year about improving its farm animal standards.
     "With its new policy changes, Burger King is signaling to agribusiness
 that the most inhumane factory farming practices are on the way out," said
 Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The HSUS. "As a result of this
 decision, large numbers of farm animals across the nation will be spared
 from much needless suffering."
     After extensive dialogue with The Humane Society of the United States
 and independent discussions with People for the Ethical Treatment of
 Animals, Burger King spelled out details of its decision:
     *  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.
     In the past, major restaurant chains have incorporated animal welfare
 considerations into their operating policies. However, this step by Burger
 King, the nation's No. 2 fast food chain, is the most significant yet. The
 HSUS urged other industry leaders to quickly follow suit and forgo their
 defense of abusive practices that inflict needless suffering on farm
 animals.
     "The more consumers learn about factory farming cruelties, the more
 they insist upon better treatment for animals," said Pacelle. "There is a
 long way to go before we end farm animal abuse, but today's announcement
 sets the country on a clear trajectory on factory farming issues."
     Burger King's decision is the latest in a recent string of historic
 advancements for farm animals in the United States. In the wake of
 successful HSUS-led ballot initiatives banning gestation crate confinement
 in Florida and Arizona, the U.S.'s and Canada's largest pig producers --
 Smithfield Foods and Maple Leaf Foods -- announced in recent weeks that
 they are phasing out their use of gestation crates. Just last week,
 Wolfgang Puck announced a wide- ranging plan to improve animal welfare in
 his supply chain. After The HSUS launched its No Battery Eggs campaign,
 numerous retailers, foodservice providers, and more than 100 schools have
 eliminated or dramatically reduced their use of eggs from hens confined in
 battery cages.
     Facts
 
     *  U.S. factory farms confine nearly 300 million hens in barren battery
        cages that are so small, the birds can't even spread their wings. Each
        bird has less space than a single sheet of paper on which to live.
 
     *  Gestation crates are two-foot-wide metal cages that confine millions of
        breeding pigs for nearly their entire lives. The crates are so
        restrictive that the animals can't even turn around for months on end.
        The animals suffer both leg and joint problems along with psychosis
        from this extreme treatment.
 
     *  Controlled Atmosphere Killing, a method of slaughter in which birds are
        deprived of oxygen, has been shown to cause significantly less
        suffering than the barbaric but commonplace practice of shacking birds
        upside down while fully conscious, paralyzing them in electrified vats
        of water, and dragging them over mechanical blades which cut their
        throats.
 
     Timeline
 
     *  March 2007-Burger King announces that it has started phasing in the use
        of cage-free eggs, pork from producers that don't use gestation crates,
        and has implemented a purchasing preference for chicken meat from
        producers using Controlled Atmosphere Killing.
 
     *  March 2007-Wolfgang Puck announces the implementation of a wide-ranging
        program to improve animal welfare in his supply chain, including not
        using foie gras, battery cage eggs, pork or veal from crated sows and
        calves, and expanding vegetarian options.
 
     *  January 2007-Smithfield Foods and Maple Leaf Foods announce that they
        are phasing out their use of gestation crates to confine breeding pigs.
 
     *  November 2006-In a landslide, Arizona voters pass an HSUS-led
        initiative banning gestation crates and veal crates in the state
        (effective 2013).
 
     *  September 2006-In response to an HSUS-led campaign, Ben & Jerry's
        announces that it is phasing out the use of eggs from caged hens in its
        ice creams.
 
     *  November 2005-In response to an HSUS-led campaign, Trader Joe's
        announces that its brand eggs will be exclusively cage-free.
 
     *  May 2005-Whole Foods Market and Wild Oats Natural Marketplace announce
        that they have ended sales of eggs from caged hens.
 
     *  November 2003-The Better Business Bureau rules that it is misleading to
        label eggs from battery-caged hens as "Animal Care Certified."
 
     *  November 2002-Florida voters overwhelmingly approve an HSUS-led measure
        banning gestation crates in the state (effective 2008).
     The Humane Society of the United States is the nation's largest animal
 protection organization-backed by 10 million Americans, or one of every 30.
 For more than a half-century, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection
 of all animals through advocacy, education, and hands-on programs.
 Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty-On the web at
 www.HumaneSociety.org.
 
 

SOURCE The Humane Society of the United States

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