Wendy’s, the second-largest burger chain in America, announced Friday that one of their primary chicken suppliers, OK Foods Inc, has begun implementing a more humane method of treatment for chicken production.
The new treatment, known as LAPS, uses a low-atmospheric pressure system which renders the chickens unconscious before they are handled by plant employees. LAPS replaces the industry standard practice of electrically shocking chickens into unconsciousness.
According to Wendy’s, they are the first fast-food chain to endorse the system, which many animal advocates consider a major improvement to industry standards. The chain also encourages other chicken producers to utilize LAPS. Wendy’s would not confirm what percentage of their chicken comes from OK Foods, maintaining only that the amount is “sizeable.” They are also working with US and Canadian pork suppliers to eliminate the use of sow gestation stalls, which are so tightly-packed that they prohibit the sows from moving. While animal rights activists argue that gestation stalls are inhumane, pork producers argue that larger stalls would drive up labor and food costs.
Pressure from animal rights groups and shifts in consumer sentiment, however, have recently persuaded several major pork producers to agree to gradually phase out gestation stalls and switch to larger, roomier pens. In an auspicious move predicted to mark a major shift in the meat industry, McDonald’s announced in February that they would phase out gestation stalls.
David Byers, senior corporate liason for PETA, says “These are certainly good steps.”