The animal welfare council of hamburger chain Wendy’s, has announced it will only use pork from sows that were not kept in gestation stalls.
The hamburger chain said that it is working with its US and Canadian pork suppliers to eliminate the use of sow gestation stalls over time.
The company believes that confining sows in gestation stalls is not sustainable over the long term, and moving away from this practice is the right thing to do.
Since 2007, Wendy’s has given preferential buying to those suppliers who adopt an ongoing plan to phase out single sow gestation stalls. As a result, a steadily increasing portion of the company’s pork supply has come from sows not raised in gestation stalls.
“Wendy’s takes our role as a responsible corporate citizen very seriously, which includes the humane treatment of animals”, said Dennis Hecker, head of Wendy’s Animal Welfare Council and SVP of Quality Assurance. “For more than a decade, our council has set industry leading standards for animal welfare.”
“The company is now going further by requiring all of our US and Canadian suppliers to provide their plans to phase out the use of gestation stalls in their operations,” Hecker added.
Wendy’s also announced improvements in the living standards for poultry. One of Wendy’s chicken suppliers, O.K. Foods, of Ft. Smith, AR, installed an innovative system that significantly improves the welfare of chickens. Called LAPS, (low atmospheric pressure system), it produces permanent unconsciousness in the bird before any handling by plant workers. It also replaces the industry standard practice of electrical stunning of chickens.
“We’ve studied the LAPS system and agree that it’s a major improvement to industry practices,” said Hecker. We encourage all chicken producers to embrace this practice.”
Wendy’s is the first QSR chain to endorse the LAPS system.
Animal Welfare Audits
To monitor and enforce Wendy’s high standards for animal welfare, all Wendy’s beef, poultry and pork suppliers in the US and Canada are regularly audited through announced and unannounced visits by trained inspectors. Nearly 1,200 audits have been conducted over the last 11 years. Suppliers who fail to meet the company’s animal welfare standards are terminated.
Wendy’s has more than 6,500 franchise and company restaurants in the USA and 27 other countries worldwide.
Other hamburger chains, like e.g. McDonald’s and Burger King had announced earlier to move away from sow stalls. Smithfield, Maple Leaf, and Hormel Foods have been doing similar announcements.