LOS ANGELES, March 21, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Burger King, the country's fourth-largest quick-serve restaurant chain with more than 15,000 locations in the United States, pledged today to significantly reduce the suffering of millions of chickens in its supply chain. Burger King has committed to using only chicken that meets the welfare standards laid out by Global Animal Partnership (GAP), an international farmed animal welfare certification program. Burger King, whose parent company is Restaurant Brands International, collaborated with Mercy For Animals, an international farmed animal protection organization, on the new policy.
Chickens raised for meat, also known as "broilers," are among the most abused animals on the planet. They are bred to grow so unnaturally fast that they are often crippled under their own weight. Many suffer from constant leg pain so severe they cannot stand, and so spend nearly all their time sitting in their own waste. Continual contact with wet litter causes extreme feather loss and painful sores on the chickens' bodies and feet. Even breathing can be painful, as the air around the birds is acrid with ammonia from the stench of excrement. At the slaughterhouse, chickens are killed by being shackled upside down and having their throats cut open, many while still fully conscious.
Recognizing this extreme abuse, Burger King has pledged to use only chicken that meets the welfare standards laid out by GAP. GAP standards will require chicken suppliers to breed only higher-welfare strains of chickens, reduce the stocking density of the birds, improve light levels and litter quality inside barns, and use controlled atmosphere stunning to render the birds unconscious before slaughter, dramatically improving slaughter methods and the birds' living conditions. Burger King will use third-party auditors to ensure compliance. The new standards will be implemented in full by 2024. Burger King's commitment follows a wave of identical commitments from smaller restaurant chains, including Chipotle, Red Robin, Quiznos, Panera, and Starbucks.
The following statement can be attributed to Brent Cox, vice president of corporate outreach with Mercy For Animals:
Burger King's commitment to improving the welfare of the chickens in its supply chain by meeting GAP standards will reduce the suffering of millions of chickens each year. It should inspire other leading quick-serve restaurant chains to implement identical commonsense welfare improvements.
It is imperative that other quick-serve restaurants, including Wendy's—a company that still allows chickens to be badly abused by its suppliers—acknowledge that animal cruelty has no place in a civilized society. Companies that fail to adopt this meaningful chicken welfare policy will simply be out of step with consumer expectations and business trends.
To learn more about Mercy For Animals and its efforts to help farmed animals, visit MercyForAnimals.org.
The best way for individual consumers to protect chickens and other farmed animals from cruelty is simply to leave them off their plates.
SOURCE Mercy For Animals