Over the past month, the restaurant industry has seen monumental change. Burger King, Tim Hortons, Jack in the Box, Qdoba, Red Robin, and Einstein Bros. Bagels have all committed to substantial welfare reforms for the “broiler” chickens in their supply chains. And the momentum is building. Monday, after discussions with Mercy For Animals, Garden Fresh Restaurant Corp., owner of Sweet Tomatoes and Souplantation, made the same commitment. The chains, with over 100 restaurants across the U.S., will improve the lives of hundreds of thousands of birds.
By 2024, Souplantation and Sweet Tomatoes will require their suppliers to meet broiler chicken welfare standards established by Global Animal Partnership (GAP). GAP standards include a transition to breeds with improved welfare outcomes, the provision of more space for birds, and a significantly improved environment for birds in farms. They also require suppliers to replace live-shackle slaughter with less cruel systems that will spare chickens the horrific suffering caused by dumping, shackling, shocking, and sometimes slitting the throats of conscious birds.
Souplantation and Sweet Tomatoes sell mostly vegetarian food, so thankfully they don’t sell as much chicken meat as some other companies that have made similar chicken welfare commitments. It’s worth pointing out, however, that the well-being of every chicken, slaughtered and sold by anyone, is equally important. There’s no such thing as a “small commitment” to an individual chicken at a typical factory farm.
Souplantation and Sweet Tomatoes’ new broiler welfare commitment will not only reduce suffering of chickens, but will also send a strong message to the chains’ suppliers and to suppliers of other small- to medium-size restaurant chains: Consumers care about animal welfare.
As long as companies insist on having animals in their supply chains, consumers will insist they have clear and high animal welfare standards that meaningfully reduce animal suffering.
If the largest fast-food chains in the U.S. and smaller chains can commit to broiler welfare, there is no good reason Wendy’s hasn’t. Sign our petition urging Wendy’s to make the same commitment as its competitors.
While Souplantation and Sweet Tomatoes’ commitment will improve the lives of countless chickens, the best way individual consumers can help chickens is to leave them off their plates. Visit ChooseVeg.com to order your free Vegetarian Starter Guide.