Following discussions with PETA, grocery chain Harris Teeter announced plans that made it the new industry leader on animal welfare. Harris Teeter committed to do the following:
- Give purchasing preference to suppliers that use or switch to controlled-atmosphere systems (the least cruel method of bird slaughter), purchase 2 percent of its turkeys by the fall of 2008 from suppliers that use this method, and increase its purchase of chickens killed by controlled-atmosphere slaughter systems by 5 percent for three consecutive years (for a total of 26 percent).
- Give purchasing preference to suppliers that are phasing out gestation crates–restrictive metal enclosures that confine pregnant pigs–and increase the amount of pig meat that it purchases from suppliers that are phasing out gestation crates by 10 percent in 2009, 15 percent in 2010, and 20 percent in 2011.
- Introduce a new line of Harris Teeter brand cage-free eggs, give purchasing preference to producers of cage-free eggs, increase the amount of cage-free eggs that it sells from 6 percent to 9 percent by 2009, and work toward increasing that amount to 12 percent in 2010.
In the words of PETA President Ingrid E. Newkirk, “We hope that shoppers will stick to the great vegetarian options offered by Harris Teeter, but the company should be commended for improving the living and dying conditions for some of the animals who are killed for its stores.”