Hold the pickle, hold the mustard, add the more humane treatment of animals. Burger King is set to be the first major US fast-food chain to pledge that all of its eggs and pork will come from cage-free chickens and pigs by 2017.
The move helps satisfy the public’s growing demand for sustainable, humanely produced animal by-products and adds fuel to an industry-wide shift to consider animals’ living conditions when purchasing food supplies.
According to the Huffington Post, conventionally raised eggs come from hens confined in “battery cages,” which give them roughly the same space as a sheet of standard notebook paper. Most pork comes from sows confined during their four-month pregnancies in narrow crates.
Under Burger King’s new policy, hens would be housed in barns, but would would have room to roam. The sows would also live indoors but would not be confined to cramped crates while pregnant.“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 companies to adopt similar policies.
So far this year, McDonalds and Wendy’s have asked their pork suppliers to outline plans for the elimination of gestation crates and Wal-Mart and Costco have transitioned their private-label eggs to 100% cage-free.
Since Burger King is such a huge force in the fast-food industry, their decision to buy humanely raised animal products could hopefully cause a shift throughout the industry for others to follow.