Friday, June 4, 2010

the fast food industry becoming animal rights activists?

Animal rights organizations, such as PETA and the Humane Society, have gotten some new activists: fast food giants like McDonalds, Burger King, Carl's Jr., Wendy's, KFC, Chipotle, Quiznos, Denny's, Hardee's, and many others. They have all pledged or have already made changes to increase the welfare and treatment of their animals by hiring on animal welfare specialists to regulate the treatment of animals.

Animal welfare specialists will also work with these fast food giants by providing new ethical ways of raising and slaughtering their animals. Some suggestions include free-range, larger crates or less animals per crate, veterinary care, discontinuing the use of growth hormones (which can be harmful to humans), and "controlled atmosphere killing" (CAK), a non-poisonous gas that puts animals to sleep before they are slaughtered.

The Humane Society, who owns stock in many of these chains, has also purchased stock in Jack in the Box and Steak 'n' Shake--two companies who have been criticized for their lack of steps at improving the livelihood of their animals. Once the Humane Society has owned stock in the companies for one whole year, they will be able to submit proposals that are then voted on by shareholders.

Jack in the Box currently requires their animals to have enough room to move freely and be provided veterinary care. However, they continue to use unethical ways of slaughtering their animals, one of which involves hanging conscious birds upside-down by their feet, electrocuting them in electrified water, and then cutting their throats.

While the fast food industry as a whole is improving their methods, only a small percentage of the meat purchased comes from animals which were treated humanely during their lives. Certainly restaurants are pledging to make changes, but there are simply not enough vendors treating their animals ethically to be able to meet the restaurants' demands. However, as the times change one can almost guarantee that the vendors will change with them.

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