Photograph by Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images.
Burger King announced on Wednesday that it will super-size its effort to produce humane animal products by switching to cage-free pigs and chicken products in the next five years.
The Associated Press reports that the fast food chain’s decision will raise the bar for other corporations, and represents "a game-change in the egg and pork supply business." Currently, pigs and chickens are kept in cramped quarters, even during pregnancy, which can harm their health.
Animal rights advocates applauded the Burger King announcement. "This is an issue that just four to five months ago was not on the food industry’s radar," said the Humane Society's Paul Shapiro. "Now it’s firmly cemented into the mainstream in a way that I think few people would have imagined."
Other food corporations have also started to show signs recently of moving toward humane practices. McDonalds and Wendy’s announced their intentions to eliminate gestation crates earlier this year, but do not have a time table. Smithfield Farms and Hormel also committed to removing the crates by 2017. And in the state of California, the 2008 bill Proposition 2 called for an end to crowded crates and cages by 2015.