Burger King will begin buying eggs and pork from suppliers that do not confine their animals in cages and crates, and also favor suppliers of chickens that use gas--or "controlled-atmospheric stunning"--rather than electric shocks to knock birds unconscious before slaughter.
Animal-welfare advocates yesterday hailed the announcement by the world's second-largest hamburger chain as a "historic advance." Food marketing experts and animal-welfare advocates say the shift will put pressure on other restaurant and food companies to adopt similar practices.
The initial goals are modest: 2% of BK's eggs will be "cage free" and 10% percent of its pork will come from farms that allow sows to move around inside pens. Those percentages will rise as more farmers shift to these methods and more competitively priced supplies become available.
BK's decision is somewhat at odds with the rebellious, politically incorrect image it has cultivated recently. Its commercials deride "chick food" and encourage a more-is-more approach to eating.