Burger King is taking a step toward sustainability and accountability by promising that it will stop purchasing chickens from farms that treat the livestock inhumanely. By 2024, per CNN, Burger King will “purchase only chickens raised according to welfare standards established by the animal advocacy group, Global Animal Partnership.”
This is an unprecedented move particularly for the drive-thru fast food sector, which is second to chicken consumption only to supermarkets and home cooks. According to the statistics released from the National Chicken Council in July 2015, 67 percent of consumers had eaten a chicken meal or snack from a food service establishment in two weeks.
Chickens that are raised for meat are colloquially known as broilers and are some of the most abused animals on Earth, GAP has in the past. In a joint statement with Burger King, the GAP wrote:
“They are bred to grow so unnaturally fast that they are often crippled under their own weight. Many suffer from constant leg pain so severe they cannot stand, and so spend nearly all their time sitting in their own waste.”
It’s a hard truth to hear, but it clearly struck a chord with Burger King who will join the ranks of Chipotle, Red Robin, Quiznos, Panera Bread, and Starbucks who have made similar pledges to protect the animals in their food supply chains in the past.
It’s not a surprising turn, however, given that the statistics from 2015 showed that 71 percent of consumers have concerns when it comes to purchasing chicken.
Of that group, 40 percent are concerned with the product itself, including concerns if a product is an organic/natural/non-GMO. While only 9 percent were concerned with the treatment of the chickens, one could also argue that concern over treatment fits into the organic or natural bracket.
It shows that as people have taken notice to the treatment of food supply animals, companies are listening to concerns one step at a time. Chicken fries, all around!