SAN DIEGO People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals submitted a shareholder resolution Monday asking Jack in the Box Inc. to require poultry suppliers to set a timeline for switching to a less-cruel slaughter method.
PETA advocates the use of “controlled atmosphere killing,” or CAK, in which chickens breathe a non-poisonous gas mixture that puts them “to sleep.” The group contends that the method is more humane than traditional slaughter practices that cause the birds to struggle and can create dangerous working conditions.
Other restaurant chains are purchasing poultry from suppliers that use the CAK method, including KFC units in Canada, casual-dining chain Ruby Tuesday, and certain McDonald’s units in Europe, PETA said.
Quiznos said earlier this year it would develop a new animal welfare policy and pledged by next year to buy 5 percent of its turkeys from suppliers that use CAK. The sandwich chain also promised to buy more cage-free eggs and crate-free pork.
Burger King, Chipotle, and Hardee's and Carl's Jr. parent CKE Restaurants have also pledged to increase purchases from suppliers that treat animals more humanely.
PETA contends that chickens destined for slaughter for Jack in the Box are placed into metal shackles upside down, a procedure that can result in broken wings and thighs. Their heads are run through an electrified bath that doesn’t necessarily render them insensible to pain, according to PETA, and their throats are cut. Many are scalded to death in defeathering tanks, the group said.
“With one decision, Jack in the Box could stop causing immense suffering to the birds who end up in its meals,” said Tracy Reiman, PETA executive vice president. “Many consumers care about animal welfare, so the last thing that the company needs is to be associated with animal abuse.”
Jack in the Box officials said the company has not responded to PETA’s shareholder resolution.