Wednesday, April 25, 2012 at 11 a.m.
In a move applauded by animal rights advocates, Burger King has announced that all of its egg and pork products will be cage-free by 2017. It's the largest restaurant chain to put a deadline on the switch.
"So many tens of thousands of animals will now be in better living conditions," Wayne Pacelle, president of the Humane Society of the United States, told the Associated Press
. "Numerically this is significant because Burger King is such a big purchaser of these products."
It is. The world's second-biggest fast-food chain uses hundreds of millions of eggs and tens of millions of pounds of pork each year.
AP reports that the decision is "a game-change in the egg and pork supply business," and raises the bar for other corporations. Currently, pigs and chickens are squeezed into cramped quarters--egg-laying hens get about as much living space as a sheet of notebook paper.
McDonalds and Wendy's are reportedly making similar plans for their products, but have not set timelines.