PETA
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
NOVEMBER 8, 2004
CONTACT: People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals 
Dan Shannon 757-622-7382
 
PETA Calls on Wendy's to Phase Out Abusive Chicken Slaughter
 

WASHINGTON - Today, PETA filed a shareholder resolution with Columbus-based fast-food chain Wendy’s, focused on having its chicken suppliers phase in a more humane method of slaughter known as controlled-atmosphere killing (CAK).

Currently, chickens raised for Wendy’s are hung upside-down by their legs in painful metal shackles and run through an electrified stun bath that often gives them painful shocks without rendering them insensible to pain. Many are still fully conscious when their throats are slit or when they are dunked into tanks of scalding-hot water for feather removal.

With CAK, the oxygen that the chickens are breathing is slowly replaced with an inert gas that induces sleep quickly and painlessly. PETA points out that as well as being more humane, CAK would pay for itself in savings within about 18 months.

PETA launched a successful campaign against Wendy’s in the summer of 2001, persuading the corporation to improve slaughter conditions for cows and pigs and to stop buying from egg suppliers that starve chickens for two weeks to shock the animals’ bodies into another laying cycle. But progress has been slow since then.

"Controlled-atmosphere killing will save Wendy’s money, help workers, and save chickens from a horribly cruel death," says PETA Vegan Campaigns Director Bruce Friedrich, "Wendy’s eliminated some horrific abuses three years ago, but it must not turn a blind eye to the horrific abuse of chickens at slaughter."

A PETA representative will formally present the resolution to the shareholders at Wendy’s annual meeting later this year. For more information, please visit PETA.org.

A copy of PETA’s shareholder resolution follows.

Shareholders’ Resolution
This resolution is submitted by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), which owns 120 shares of Wendy’s stock.

In its online "Animal Welfare Program Fact Sheet," our company states, "[W]e believe it is our obligation to ensure that each of our suppliers exceeds government regulations by meeting Wendy’s more exacting standards pertaining to the humane treatment of animals." However, the facilities that supply our restaurants with animal products are still home to abuses that most decent people would deem unacceptable. Our company has taken some laudable first steps to address these issues, but there is much work to be done.

One area in which much improvement is needed is that of chicken slaughter. Currently, chickens raised for Wendy’s are hung upside-down by their often-injured legs in painful metal shackles and run through an electrified stun bath that often gives them painful shocks without rendering them insensible to pain. Many are still fully conscious when their throats are slit or when they are dunked into tanks of scalding-hot water for feather removal. Clearly, there are major animal welfare concerns with this outdated process.

Other companies are starting to explore a new slaughter technology known as controlled-atmosphere killing (CAK), which eliminates most—if not all—of these concerns. When using CAK, chickens are placed into a controlled environment where the oxygen they are breathing is slowly replaced with an inert gas, such as argon or nitrogen, putting the birds to sleep quickly and painlessly. CAK is a USDA-approved method of slaughtering chickens and has been described by animal welfare experts as "the most stress-free, humane method of killing poultry ever developed." The technology also has positive worker and food safety implications, and it has been shown that the resulting savings would recoup the initial investment in a year and a half or less.

Wendy’s "Animal Welfare Program Fact Sheet" also states, "To remain an industry leader in the area of animal welfare, we actively work with our suppliers to research, evaluate and implement advances in the science of animal handling and care." CAK is perhaps the single most important scientific advance in the field of chicken slaughter, and our company acknowledges its responsibility to fully explore advances that can improve animal welfare.

Resolved:
Shareholders request that the board of directors issue a report to shareholders by October 2005, prepared at reasonable cost and omitting proprietary information, on the feasibility of Wendy’s requiring its chicken suppliers to phase in controlled-atmosphere killing within a reasonable timeframe, with a focus on the animal welfare and economic benefits that this technology could eventually bring to all our company’s slaughter facilities.


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