In an effort to be a little more sensitive to those who take issue with the way farmed animals are raised for consumption, fast food chain Burger King has promised that all it’s egg and pork products will come from cage-free animals by 2017.
“So many tens of thousands of animals will now be in better living conditions,” said Wayne Pacelle, president of the Humane Society of the United States, which has been pushing Burger King and other corporations to consider animal welfare in purchasing policies. “Numerically this is significant because Burger King is such a big purchaser of these products.”
Burger King, who reportedly uses hundreds of millions of eggs and tens of millions of pounds of pork, already has 9% of its eggs and 20% of its pork coming from cage-free chickens and pigs.
“We believe this decision will allow us to leverage our purchasing power to ensure the appropriate and proper treatment of animals by our vendors and suppliers,” said Jonathan Fitzpatrick, chief brand and operations officer at Miami-based Burger King.
Fitzpatrick added that the cage-free promise is a part of the companies social responsibility policy.
Smithfield Farms and Hormel have already made announcements of making a move away from raising pigs in 6 foot by 2 foot gestation cages by 2017 as well.
While farmers argue that particularly with pigs, they need to be raised in crates to separate females who often fight amongst each other. Animal welfare advocates however, regard the use of gestation crates as one of the most inhumane features of intensive animal production.
Temple Grandin of Colorado State University’s Department of Animal Science has said: “I think gestation crates for pigs are a real problem … I mean basically you’re asking a sow to live in an airline seat.”
Animal advocates say there are also other means of reducing aggression besides gestation crates, that are equally effective. These include eliminating overcrowding, not mixing pigs from different litters, providing straw or other bedding material, and providing sufficient food that not only meets nutritional needs but satisfies the appetite.”