Burger King said it will seek to buy 2% of its eggs from farmers who do not keep birds in wire
battery cages, and purchase 10 % of its pork from farms that allow sows to move
around freely instead of confining them.
"We're going to expand our purchases of the cage-free eggs and pork as the supply increases and pricing becomes competitive," said Steve Grover, a Burger King vice president of food safety.
Burger King, renowned for its "whopper" burgers, said it would also encourage poultry suppliers to start using "controlled-atmosphere stunning" or gas as opposed to electric shocks to render birds unconscious before they are slaughtered and processed. The Humane Society of the United States says controlled stunning is preferable because it kills birds by depriving them of oxygen which causes them less suffering them paralyzing them alive through electrocution.
"Burger King is signalling to agribusiness that the most inhumane factory farming practices are on the way out," said Wayne Pacelle, the president of the US Humane Society.
Burger King and its franchise holders operate some 11,100 restaurants in the United States and at least 65 other countries.
Animal welfare groups, including PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) and The Humane Society of the United States, applauded Burger King's announcement. Burger King consulted both groups before announcing its reforms.
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Since 2000, PETA has been using high-profile campaigns and negotiating behind the scenes to influence the fast-food and grocery industries. Burger King's recent announcement marks the latest chapter in these efforts.
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