Animal rights groups have long been at odds with the fast-food industry for their use of meat and eggs produced under inhumane conditions -- but in a surprising announcement, one major restaurant chain has pledged to change the way it does business.
Today, Burger King unveiled its plan to enhance its standards of animal welfare, namely to improve the treatment of the chickens and pigs which provide eggs and meat across the company's 7,200 U.S.-based restaurants. In the pledge, the third-largest fast-food chain said that, by 2017, it will only purchase products from uncaged chickens, and from pigs that have not been confined to gestation crates.
The welcome decision comes just months after another fast-food giant, Wendy's, made a similar plans to rely more on humanely produced food products -- a move that has been catching on throughout the restaurant industry.
Changing the culture of cruelty towards livestock hasn't come easy. For years, groups like The Humane Society have worked to raise awareness of farm animal mistreatment, so that consumers better understood the real cost of fast-food.
"Burger King Corp. has demonstrated when it comes to America's largest fast food chains, it continues to set the standard," says Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States, in a press release. "These changes by Burger King Corp. will improve life for countless farm animals and encourage other companies to abide by animal welfare principles up and down their supply chain."