After numerous videos from animal rights groups like Mercy for Animals surfaced depicting inhumane conditions for livestock animals, many restaurant chains are taking action. Already, multiple fast-food companies like McDonald’s and Wendy’s are switching to cage-free eggs, and now Burger King has announced new animal welfare standards that aim to ensure that no abused chickens ever make it into their supply chain.
Burger King will now be following standards laid out by the Global Animal Partnership (GAP), which limits suppliers to those who only breed 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 so that the birds will not feel pain.
“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,” Mercy for Animals said in a statement. “It should inspire other leading quick-serve restaurant chains to implement identical commonsense welfare improvements.”
The issue of humane slaughter was called into question in a November review by an adviser to the European Union’s food safety agency who claims that the standards followed to stun chickens often don’t actually render them unconscious — so even many “humane” practices are iffy, at best.