Subway, Ruby Tuesday embrace reform for chickens raised for meat

By on May 2, 2017 with 6 Comments By Wayne Pacelle

Last week, the fast-food giant Subway announced a comprehensive plan to require that its chicken suppliers enhance the way they treat animals. Subway is the world’s largest restaurant chain, with more than 25,000 locations in the United States alone.

Our Nine Billion Lives campaign to improve the welfare of chickens got even more wind in its sails when Ruby Tuesday made a nearly identical announcement a day later. Through our broiler chicken campaign that launched last fall, as well as work from other organizations, Ruby Tuesday has joined more than a dozen major food companies that have enacted animal welfare polices, including Burger King, TGI Fridays, Panera Bread, Jack in the Box, and Aramark.

In recent years, we’ve been working closely with Subway and Ruby Tuesday and hundreds of other companies to encourage them to find a constructive path forward on animal welfare. We’ve focused much of our reform efforts on breeding sows kept in crates and laying hens crammed into cages. But our latest campaign focuses on the well-being of chickens raised for meat – so-called broiler birds.

As new market research reveals, 60 percent of consumers are now more concerned about the welfare of animals in the food supply chain than they were even a few years ago. “Food companies should view improvement of their animal welfare standing as an essential competitive action,” the report states.

Companies like Subway and Ruby Tuesday are recognizing that customers want better outcomes for animals, and that they have an opportunity to capture increased brand loyalty and sales by addressing the issue proactively and not waiting for protests or regulatory reform.

In their latest animal welfare declarations, Subway and Ruby Tuesday are requiring that their chicken suppliers utilize standards set forth by the Global Animal Partnership (GAP), a leading animal welfare certification program, on how they breed, house and raise chickens; they’re also requiring a shift to more humane slaughter methods. Currently, nearly all chickens used in meat production are bred to grow so fat so fast, they suffer crippling leg deformities. They suffer heart attacks. Their lungs fail. They’re housed in barren, cramped environments and slaughtered using an archaic system that results in birds having their throats cut while still conscious.

This type of cruelty and the misery and suffering it creates are simply unacceptable, and a new set of minimum-care standards is now coursing through the industry. What was acceptable five years ago, or even a year ago, is no longer tolerable today.

Taking better care of animals is in the company’s best interests, and ethics and economics are aligned, rather than being viewed as competing forces. That’s the humane economy in action.

Farm Animals

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  1. Doris Muller says:

    HSUS, you do, and you promote, a lot of compassionate values and care of animals in general, however, this is not one of your good works! The HSUS supports and campaigns for a “Humane Economy” and “humane slaughter.” Both of these terms are oxymorons. Your stance on “humane” reminds me of the old adage “If you can’t change them, join them.”

    When the animal killing business is conducted solely for profit–nobody needs to eat animals to survive or to be healthy–there is no humanity in the “slaughter” of defenseless beings.

    The HSUS is complicit in indoctrinating the public to the notion that if animals have a tad better “minimum-care” prior to their “slaughter,” then they can console themselves with that nonsense, as they feed their taste addictions and go merrily on their way, as animals continue to be treated like non-feeling widgets.

    “In fact, if one person is unkind to an animal it is considered to be cruelty, but where a lot of people are unkind to animals, especially in the name of commerce, the cruelty is condoned and, once large sums of money are at stake, will be defended to the last by otherwise intelligent people.”–Ruth Harrison, Animal Machines

    A friend of mine is a dumpster-diver, and I can tell you for a fact, millions of pounds of animal flesh, from animals who lived a life of hell from birth to death, end up in the garbage as mere trash.

    Shame on a society who know the truth but who will not deny themselves in place of self-gratification.

    • Tony Manero says:

      Meat consumption has risen in both developed and developing countries. We are naturally omnivores. Giving livestock the most comfortable lives through legal protection and convincing people that certain species such as dogs, elephants, whales, dolphins, and gorillas should never be killed and eaten are attainable goals. Trying to persuade people to give up McDonald’s, KFC, Pizza Hut, and Baskin Robbins is not. The vast majority of people will never become vegetarians, let alone vegans. HSUS is being more pragmatic than you are.

      • Karen Kathleen Gulley says:

        I haven’t eaten at McDonalds since I can remember, who cares about McDonalds, Pizza Hut, no, thats bread and cheese, fattening crap, Baskin Robbins, no, Now I must admit I did have a bucket of KFC but after I bought it, I realized it was not as good as I thought It should be, thumbs DOWN for KFC. so, I am sure, there are plenty of healthy people that take care of their bodies THESE days and don’t eat fried foods anymore, this is a health nation as well as a FAT nation

  2. Jacqueline Greene says:

    I have a feeling Trump would ‘have a cow’ (so to speak) if he saw this. He would think it was unnecessary and bad for the bottom line to have any standards against animal cruelty. He hasn’t been for a single thing that helped animals so far, and has caused irreparable harm with his attitudes and actions since TAKING office. He has ‘rolled back’ every regulation that helped animals in the last 8 years.

  3. Jacqueline Greene says:

    P.S. to the previous comment: I meant to add my congratulations and thanks to the companies that have followed the Nine Billion Lives campaign and the Global Animal Partnership standards. You rock!

  4. Bobbi fralish says:

    Somehow, I can’t think government intervention can be the complete answer to improving animal welfare. Yes that can be a big part of it, but human compassion has to be the major influence, unfortunately, government cannot force humans to be compassionate. I do think they should impose huge fines and penalties on those who are so heartless and cruel with no conscience or feelings for sentient beings. There are some who care ONLY about the profit angle and those are the ones we must find a way to stop. When they only understand the money angle, then we must impose exorbitant fines.

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