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A recent trend in the pork industry is the elimination of single stalls or crates that house pregnant sows, allowing the hogs to freely move around. Currently, at least 10 percent of Wendy’s pork products are from hogs not raised in gestation stalls. The goal is to reach 20 percent by the end of 2008 and continue to increase over time. Wendy’s is encouraging suppliers to eliminate gestation stalls and will give preferential buying to suppliers adopting these plans. Progress will be monitored through Wendy’s ongoing animal welfare reviews.
An emerging technology in the poultry industry is the use of controlled atmosphere stunning (CAS) systems. In processing plants using CAS, poultry receive a mixture of gasses that renders them unconscious prior to processing.
CAS systems are used in Europe and by some U.S. suppliers growing turkeys. Wendy’s animal welfare experts recently witnessed a CAS system at a turkey plant. Based on these direct observations, Wendy’s will give purchasing preference to approved suppliers who actively explore and test CAS systems, as long as product quality and value continue to meet its strict standards.
“We believe these actions will lead our suppliers and others in the pork and chicken industry to continue to identify improved methods of handling animals prior to processing”, said Tad Wampfler, Wendy’s Senior Vice President of Supply Chain Management. “These actions continue to demonstrate our long-term commitment to the principles of humane animal treatment.”
Wendy’s animal welfare program began in the early 1990s with a goal to create guidelines that exceed government standards. A key component includes regular announced and unannounced animal welfare audits of all beef, chicken and pork suppliers by independent and trained Company inspectors. Importantly, companies that fail to meet Wendy’s guidelines are eliminated as approved suppliers. These audits, which began in 1993, cover a thorough review of animal housing, transportation, holding facilities and other areas. They were developed with input from world class animal welfare experts.
Another major component of Wendy’s animal welfare effort is a certified supplier feed program that verifies cattle are fed in compliance with FDA regulations. This protects the animals’ health and guards against diseases.
Wendy’s also has an established animal welfare advisory council that meets regularly to review company and supplier audits and other initiatives.
The company’s Animal Welfare Guidelines are posted at www.wendys.com.