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Panera announced further plans to clean up its animal welfare act.Panera announced further plans to clean up its animal welfare act.

Panera Extends Commitment to Animal Welfare

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Just six months after Panera announced a “responsibly raised” livestock and poultry food policy, the company announced further plans to clean up its animal welfare act.

In a progress report released Wednesday, Panera said that pregnant sows at its suppliers will no longer be confined to gestation crates beginning in January 2015. In addition, all pork will be raised completely without antibiotics. Apparently the company completed 90 percent of those goals this year, which is better than nothing considering pork accounts for 30 percent of all Panera transactions.

The company also reported that 80 percent, or two million pounds, of its beef was grass-fed, and that 18 percent of its eggs came from hens raised in cage-free environments. We know — it’s a pretty low number, even the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) is prodding them about it. Otherwise, the organization is impressed by Panera’s efforts.

“In some areas, like pig gestation crates, Panera is ahead of — or on par with — industry competition,” says Matt Prescott, food policy director of the HSUS.

Panera joins over 60 food providers including McDonalds and Safeway, which have ceased using gestation crates.

“We believe higher levels of animal welfare result in higher quality food, and that — combined with our culinary expertise — leads to better taste,” Panera’s vice president of food Dan Kish said in a statement. “Panera Bread intends to continue adopting practices that allow for farm animals to be raised in environments that support their health, fitness, and freedom.”

Panera has over 1,800 bakery-cafes. We hope Panera continues to set the example of considering the welfare of animals, including their right to be respected and not just eaten.

Via USA Today

Photo: Susan Montgomery / Shutterstock.com

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