After more than a year of discussions with PETA, CKE Restaurants (the parent company of Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr.) has announced a new animal welfare program that will phase in cage-free eggs, and begin sourcing pork from suppliers that don’t use cruel gestation crates for pregnant pigs. The plan also gives consideration to poultry suppliers that are willing to use controlled-atmosphere killing, which is the most humane form of slaughter available.
Here’s what Hardee’s spokesman Jeff Mochal said about the change:
“We take the animal welfare concerns very seriously. When you meet with PETA they make a pretty good case. We want to stay consistent with where the industry is at now and where it’s heading.”
This is another victory for farmed animals, and it is a sign that there is a major upheaval in the industry, with many of the biggest players (with the notable exception of KFC, which is still decades behind) making significant improvements in their animal welfare standards in response to pressure from the animal protection community and compassionate consumers. In just the past year, Smithfield Foods, Maple Leaf Foods, and Cargill Meat Solutions took steps to phase out gestation crates for pigs, and Burger King and Wendy’s restaurants made similar changes affecting millions of animals.
I make these points whenever we have a victory like this, but I want to really emphasize them this time:
- Yes, this is a victory for animals. It means that millions upon millions of pigs and chickens will be spared some of the worst tortures that they currently suffer, and it is a sign that with hard work, we can effect change for the better.
- No, this doesn’t mean that our work is anywhere near finished. It just means that our work is effective, and that we have an incentive to work harder and push for more change.
- Torturing animals less in factory farms is always a good thing, but the best thing that you can do if you want to help animals is to go vegan.
Congratulations to everyone who worked so hard to get these improvements at Hardees and Carls Jr.! And thanks to CKE Restaurants for helping to encourage such significant changes in their suppliers, and the industry at large.