Humane Society ads attack Wendy’s for not using cage-free eggs

DUBLIN Ohio Wendy’s International is the latest target of the Humane Society of the United States’ ongoing publicity campaign to urge national chain restaurants to source cage-free eggs. The not-for-profit animal welfare group ran a full-age ad in The Columbus Dispatch on Monday and launched a series of radio ads in Ohio accusing Wendy’s, based here, of a “frosty” refusal to buy cage-free eggs for use in various menu items.

AWendy’s spokesman said the 6,600-unit burger chain is “very committed” to the humane treatment of animals. Last month, Wendy’s said it would give buying preference to chicken and pork suppliers that practice humane treatment. However, spokesman Bob Bertini indicated that there were supply shortage issues involved in buying cage-free eggs.

Last March, Wendy’s rival Burger King said it would purchase 5 percent of its egg supply from cage-free suppliers by the end of this year and that increased cost was not a factor.

McDonald’s, another Wendy’s competitor and the burger segment leader, has said the company is working with suppliers to address concerns about how laying hens are raised, primarily in small wire cages stacked on top of one another. In Europe, McDonald’s buys around 75 percent of its eggs from cage-free or free-range sources.

Ben & Jerry’s, the ice cream chain based in South Burlington, Vt., was the first major food manufacturer to commit to using only cage-free eggs. Making that commitment in 2006, Ben & Jerry’s expects to complete the switch in 2010.