Carl’s Jr. restaurants, headquartered in Carpinteria, won praise from PETA for agreeing to improve the living conditions of animals who provide the beef, pork, and eggs for the fast-food chain. PETA first approached CKE Restaurants in 2004, according to PETA’s September 26 announcement, but discussions began in earnest after PETA became a company shareholder in 2006.
CKE, which also owns St. Louis-based Hardee’s restaurants, promised to immediately begin purchasing 15 percent of its pork from suppliers who do not use “gestation crates,” which PETA described as metal enclosures that confine sows, and to increase that amount to 25 percent by July 2008. In addition, CKE agreed to purchase two percent of its eggs from hens who are not confined to wire cages by July 2008. Finally, the company agreed to notify its poultry suppliers that CKE will “consider purchasing products from approved suppliers who actively explore and test [controlled-atmosphere stunning] systems, provided quality meets our strict standards and costs are competitive.”
According to PETA, controlled-atmosphere killing-which removes oxygen while the birds are still in their transfer crates– is the most humane form of chicken slaughter available. It is also cleaner than the electronic immobilization process, which is currently the industry standard. Fewer birds have to be discarded and, according to PETA’s descriptions of the two methods, the new method greatly improves working conditions for humans.