Bon Appétit Management Company urges chicken meat suppliers to improve the last minutes of birds’ lives
Palo Alto, Calif. (July 11, 2007) – Bon Appétit Management Company, a major onsite restaurant company, has urged its 30 chicken and turkey suppliers to move toward using controlled atmosphere killing (CAK), a slaughter method that causes less suffering than the current method of shackling birds while they’re fully conscious, electrocuting them into paralysis, and then cutting their throats. The Humane Society of the United States, the nation’s largest animal welfare organization, welcomes this news as a positive step in the right direction, since a shift in the poultry industry toward CAK would help reduce the suffering of billions of birds annually.
Palo Alto, Calif.-based Bon Appétit has 400 cafés in 28 states and has long been known for its commitment to socially responsible purchasing, including improving animal welfare. CEO Fedele Bauccio requests that its poultry suppliers “evaluate the method of slaughter known as controlled-atmosphere killing (CAK), which numerous animal scientists claim is a better slaughter method than that which is conventionally used in the United States.” The letter concludes by encouraging suppliers to “consider an operational phase-in of the CAK process within a reasonable time frame.”
“Bon Appétit’s letter should send a strong signal to the poultry industry,” stated Paul Shapiro, senior director of the Factory Farming Campaign for The HSUS. “Poultry companies can and should reduce the suffering of the billions of birds they slaughter each year, and one way they can do that is by switching to controlled atmosphere killing.”
Companies such as Burger King have already implemented a purchasing preference for chicken meat from plants that use CAK, while Wolfgang Puck has also sent a letter to his suppliers on the issue. These companies’ changes are the latest examples of the growing social awareness of farm animal cruelty.
Dr. Temple Grandin, one of the country’s leading farm animal welfare experts, also supports a switch to CAK, listing its numerous animal welfare benefits and concluding, “The U.S. poultry industry should move toward controlled-atmosphere stunning.”
- Controlled atmosphere killing (CAK), a method of slaughter in which birds are deprived of oxygen, has been shown to cause significantly less suffering than the commonplace practice of shackling birds upside down while fully conscious, paralyzing them in electrified vats of water, and dragging them over mechanical blades which cut their throats.
- Long-time poultry welfare advocate Dr. Karen Davis writes, “Controlled-Atmosphere Stunning, which is based on the use of inert gases such as nitrogen, eliminates a huge amount of suffering. Rendered unconscious by the gas, the birds never wake up again. For this reason, switching from electric shocking to gas-stunning should be supported by the poultry industry.”
- MBA Poultry, a slaughter company based in Nebraska that uses controlled atmosphere stunning, writes, “There have been numerous studies conducted that lead us to believe that the typical electrical stunning systems used in the U.S. can cause severe welfare problems for millions, and possibly billions, of birds each year.”
- March 2007—Burger King announces that it has started phasing in the use of cage-free eggs and pork from producers that don’t confine pigs in gestation crates, and that it is implementing a purchasing preference for chicken meat from plants that use CAK.
- March 2007—Wolfgang Puck announces the implementation of a wide-ranging animal welfare program and sent a letter to his chicken and turkey meat suppliers indicating the company’s interest in CAK.
- November 2005—The HSUS and other plaintiffs file suit challenging the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s policy of excluding chickens, turkeys, and other birds killed for human consumption from the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act of 1958.
- October 2005— After discussions with The HSUS, Bon Appétit Management Company announces that it is phasing out the use of eggs from caged hens in all of its 400 cafés, becoming the first national restaurant company to enact such a policy.
The Humane Society of the United States is the nation’s largest animal protection organization -backed by 10 million Americans, or one of every 30. For more than a half-century, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education, and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty — On the web at HumaneSociety.org.
About Bon Appétit Management Company
Bon Appétit Management Company (www.bamco.com) is an onsite restaurant company offering full food service management to corporations, universities and specialty venues. Bon Appétit is committed to sourcing sustainable, local foods for all cafés throughout the country. A pioneer in environmentally sound sourcing policies, Bon Appétit has developed programs with Environmental Defense, the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch, The Humane Society of the United States, and other leading conservation organizations. Based in Palo Alto, CA, Bon Appétit has more than 400 cafés in 28 states, including Oracle Corporation, American University and the Getty Center.