Starbucks is the latest large food chain to adopt an animal welfare policy. It is committing to source ‘cage-free’ eggs and pork products from farms that do not use gestation crates for pregnant sows for its 12,000 locations.
It’s also going to require its suppliers to stop inhumane practices of dehorning, tail-docking and castration, painful practices typically done to young animals without the use of anesthetics. The coffee chain will also work with its supply chain to phase out the use of controversial artificial growth hormones and improve humane slaughter practices for chickens.
“Just as with our coffee, Starbucks goal is for everything we sell to be produced under high quality and ethical standards,” the company said in a statement on its website. “For the food and dairy we serve, this means a commitment to social responsibility standards with animal welfare as a primary focus. We are committed to working with and buying from farmers and suppliers who share our commitment to humane practices throughout an animal’s lifecycle.”
Starbucks worked with the Humane Society of the U.S. for years to develop its new animal welfare standards, and it says it’s going to take “industry level” changes to meet its goals and for other chains to follow suit, “we’re working with the industry on creating reasonable timeframes. As one example, we have significantly expanded our cage-free egg offerings since 2008, increasing our purchases year over year, and are committed to continue to do so,” the chain said.
“While the time frame for the switchover has not yet been announced by Starbucks, this may be the most comprehensive animal welfare policy of any national restaurant chain,” HSUS CEO and President Wayne Pacelle said in a post on the organization’s website, “because this announcement includes both shell and liquid eggs (which are used for its pastries, which it sells in such volume). And what Starbucks is doing is not only better for animals, it’s also business savvy. Consumers simply don’t want farm animals being caged, or genetically manipulated to grow unnaturally large, or mutilated without pain killers. We live in a society where major corporations increasingly recognize that its customers want to see animals treated with decency.”
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