Burger King and Tim Hortons release first comprehensive chicken welfare policies

International Farmed Animal Protection Organization Commends Canada's Leading Restaurants for Landmark Chicken Welfare Standards

TORONTO, March 21, 2017 /CNW/ - Two of Canada's largest quick-service restaurant chains, Burger King and Tim Hortons, pledged today to significantly reduce the suffering of millions of chickens in their supply chains. These commitments are the first of their kind in Canada and set the stage for the country's poultry industry to move to less cruel methods of housing and slaughter. Burger King and Tim Hortons (whose parent company is Restaurant Brands International) collaborated with international farmed animal protection organization Mercy For Animals on the new policies.

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 their legs often can't support the birds' own body weight. Many suffer from constant leg pain so severe they cannot stand, and so they spend nearly all their time sitting in their own waste. Continual contact with wet litter causes extreme feather loss and painful sores on the chickens' bodies and feet. Even breathing can be painful, as the air around the birds is acrid with ammonia from the stench of excrement. At the slaughterhouse, chickens are killed by being shackled upside down and having their throats cut open, many while still fully conscious.

Recognizing this extreme abuse, Burger King and Tim Hortons have all pledged to use only chicken that meets the welfare standards laid out by Global Animal Partnership (GAP), an international farmed animal welfare certification program. These 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.

The following statement can be attributed to Krista Hiddema, vice president of Mercy For Animals in Canada:

We have been so pleased to work with Burger King and Tim Hortons to develop their progressive broiler welfare policies. It is certainly a testament to the times that two of Canada's largest quick-service brands are committed to meeting GAP standards, and we are confident the rest of the Canadian food industry will soon follow.

It is imperative that other restaurant brands, including Cara—owner of Swiss Chalet, Harvey's, St. Hubert, Milestones, and Kelsey's—acknowledge that animal cruelty has no place in a civilized society. Companies like Cara that fail to adopt this meaningful chicken welfare policy will simply be out of step with consumer expectations and business trends.

The best way for individual consumers to prevent cruelty to chickens and other farmed animals is to simply leave them off their plate.


SOURCE Mercy For Animals

For further information: Krista Hiddema: 416-666-3093

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