It’s no secret that many fast food restaurants are infamous for serving abused animals. However, Burger King recently announced that it will stop buying chickens from farms that blatantly and grossly mistreat them.
The chain plans to only buy chickens that were raised according to the welfare standards set by Global Animal Partnership, an animal advocacy group. Burger King said they will reduce the suffering of millions of chickens with this effort.
“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,” GAP said in a statement.
According to GAP’s website, certified farmers must provide chickens with access to light and keep their living conditions more sanitary. One nesting box for every four to five hens is generally the minimum for hens to feel comfortable laying in them, but it’s not uncommon to see twice that amount on farms where chicken abuse is rampant. Chickens should also be given adequate medical care. Vets suggest twice-yearly checkups for older household pets, but chickens should be treated anytime they seem ill.
GAP said in the statement that its 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.” GAP worked alongside Mercy For Animals, another animal advocacy group, to develop the policy.
Not only will these efforts improve the lives of millions of chickens, but they could actually improve the health of humans as well, considering the fact that each year, one in six Americans gets sick by consuming contaminated foods or beverages, according to the CDC. Healthier chickens ultimately lead to less contamination and increased overall well-being for both humans and our feathered friends.
GAP said Burger King will utilize third-party auditors to assure that its suppliers remain compliant with the GAP standards.
Other popular chain restaurants have made similar efforts in recent years to improve the treatment of animals in their supply chains. Chipotle, Red Robin, Panera Bread, Starbucks, and Quiznos are just a few examples. One can only hope that more restaurants will continue to make the transformation to more animal-friendly practices.