Brinker International, which owns US restaurant chain Chilli’s, has joined a growing list of US restaurants that have pledged to treat pigs more humanely. The decision has been supported by the Humane Society of the US (HSUS), which has pushed for other chains to make the move.
Along with the 1,500 Chilli’s eateries, Dallas-based Brinker International also owns and runs other chains, which will see the roll-out of the decision.
A spokesperson from Brinker said: “Brinker acknowledges there are various ways to achieve our animal welfare beliefs, including phasing out gestation stalls. We are working with our pork suppliers to do this, which will take time to implement.”
Matthew Prescott, who is the food policy director for the HSUS’ farm animal protection department, said: “We welcome Brinker’s work to improve conditions for pigs and applaud the company for addressing this pressing concern. Americans don’t support the lifelong confinement of animals in cages so small they cannot even turn around, and for Brinker to move away from that abuse represents both a wise business move and an ethical decision.”
In the short term, Brinkers will aim to ensure that most of its pork products are sourced from vendors committed to stopping the use of gestation stalls, which it hopes to do in the next five to seven years.
Other chains to have eliminated the gestation crates, which leaves the breeding pigs in a confined space day and night through their four-month pregnancy, include McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s and Oscar Mayer.
Prescott added: “This confinement system has come under fire from veterinarians, farmers, animal welfare advocates, animal scientists, consumers and others.”