Burger King and Tim Hortons release first comprehensive chicken welfare policies

Press release

International farmed animal protection organization commends Canada’s leading restaurants for landmark chicken welfare standards

Two of Canada’s largest quick-service restaurant chains, Burger King and Tim Hortons, have pledged to significantly reduce the suffering of millions of chickens in their supply chains. These commitments are the first of their kind in Canada and set the stage for the country’s poultry industry to move to less cruel methods of housing and slaughter. Burger King and Tim Hortons (whose parent company is Restaurant Brands International) collaborated with international farmed animal protection organization Mercy For Animals on the new policies.

Chickens raised for meat, also known as “broilers,” are among the most abused animals on the planet. They are bred to grow so unnaturally fast that their legs often can’t support the birds’ own body weight. Many suffer from constant leg pain so severe they cannot stand, and so they spend nearly all their time sitting in their own waste. Continual contact with wet litter causes extreme feather loss and painful sores on the chickens’ bodies and feet. Even breathing can be painful, as the air around the birds is acrid with ammonia from the stench of excrement. At the slaughterhouse, chickens are killed by being shackled upside down and having their throats cut open, many while still fully conscious.

Recognizing this extreme abuse, Burger King and Tim Hortons have all pledged to use only chicken that meets the welfare standards laid out by Global Animal Partnership (GAP), an international farmed animal welfare certification program. These standards will require chicken suppliers to breed only higher-welfare strains of chickens, reduce the stocking density of the birds, improve light levels and litter quality inside barns, and use controlled atmosphere stunning to render the birds unconscious before slaughter, dramatically improving slaughter methods and the birds’ living conditions.