Fast Food Meets Humane Farming

By Clare Ellis

No more begging for change: the Humane Society of the United Statesgained an inside track on changing the way fast food does business by becoming a major shareholder last week at Apollo Global Management, parent company of Hardees and Carl’s Junior. Both companies depend on suppliers who crate chickens and pigs in tiny cages for their entire lives.

“Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. allows its suppliers to permanently confine animals in cages so small they can barely move,” said Matthew Prescott, food policy director for the HSUS. “It’s time the companies aligned themselves with the public’s expectations and values.”

The Humane Society can afford to buy a seat at the fast food table because of the support it’s getting from people upset about where their food is coming from. The intensifying media focus on factory farming has highlighted its attendant food safety issues and the cruel conditions for workers and animals. Ninety percent of egg-laying hens and 70 percent of breeding pigs in the United States, for instance, are confined to small cages and a lifetime of suffering. People are taking note and animal welfare has become the third most important social issue to American restaurant patrons, just above the environment, according to the food industry consulting firm Technomic.

So kudos to the Humane Society for marrying its financial clout with a pragmatic approach to creating change. Let’s hope it inspires more trips to fast food shareholder meetings for humane organizations.

Clare Ellis is Media Chief at Good Food Media Group, a media and marketing service for those who grow, distribute, and champion local, organic, and sustainable food. She frequently writes and reports on media trends in the good food world. Follow Good Food Media Group news on its blog,facebook page, and twitter, or contact Clare at [email protected].

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