Starbucks has just announced a comprehensive new animal welfare policy banning a breadth of inhumane farming practices, including caging of hens, confinement of pigs in crates, as well as castration and tail-docking practices without pain relief. The Humane Society is applauding these efforts as the “most extensive animal welfare policy of any national restaurant chain,” and believes that Starbucks will be setting a new standard for humane treatment of animals raised for meat and dairy consumption.
“Starbucks uses a lot of eggs, breakfast sandwiches, muffins, cookies… it all contains eggs. They’ve stated firmly that caging chickens is not reflective of Starbucks values,” said Josh Balk, food policy director for the Humane Society of the United States. “The entire food industry should follow these policies; they reflect consumer sentiment about how animals should be treated.”
Balk painted a grim picture of how chickens and pigs are often raised on large factory farms: the chickens are given growth hormones to grow unnaturally fast, and then they are slaughtered after just 40 days. Also, most animals that are bred larger end up having heart attacks at young ages, said Balk, because of their unnatural size.
“Some of the issues we would like our suppliers to address must happen at the industry level,” Starbucks said in a press release. “Recognizing the responsibility we have as the voice for our customers, we continue to look for opportunities to collaborate with others across our industry and the NGO community to promote best practices.”