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Improved Welfare Measures Brings Praise from PETA

by 5m Editor
23 June 2009, at 8:24a.m.

US - Welfare campaign group, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has praised restaurant chain, Ruby Tuesday, for favouring poultry suppliers that use what PETA describes as 'controlled atmosphere killing' (CAK). Ruby Tuesday is also to give purchasing preference to suppliers that are phasing out gestation crates for sows and that produce cage-free eggs.

PETA reports that casual-dining restaurant chain, Ruby Tuesday, which has 901 locations in the US and abroad, has announced that it is giving purchasing preference to suppliers that use or switch to a less cruel slaughter method called 'controlled-atmosphere killing' (CAK). Ruby Tuesday says that 100 per cent of the turkeys it purchases currently come from suppliers that use CAK. The company's new plan places it at the forefront of the restaurant industry when it comes to animal welfare.

In CAK, the oxygen that chickens and turkeys breathe is slowly replaced with inert, non-poisonous gasses, putting the birds 'to sleep' quickly and painlessly. CAK reduces labour costs, improves working conditions, and lessens the opportunity for slaughterhouse workers to abuse birds. PETA says CAK is far less cruel than electrical stunning, the conventional slaughter method. During conventional slaughter, chickens and turkeys are dumped onto conveyors and hung upside down by their legs in metal shackles (which often results in broken bones) before their heads are run through an electrified bath that gives them painful shocks but doesn't make them insensible to pain. Stunned birds are often still conscious when their throats are cut, and many are scalded to death in defeathering tanks.

PETA also reports that Ruby Tuesday will also give purchasing preference to suppliers that are phasing out gestation crates (highly restrictive metal enclosures that confine pregnant pigs) and that produce cage-free eggs. Ruby Tuesday joins restaurant chains Burger King, Carl's Jr., Hardee's and Wendy's as well as grocery chains Safeway, Winn-Dixie and Harris Teeter, all of which adopted similar animal welfare policies after talking to PETA.

"We still recommend the restaurant's veggie burger to animal lovers but Ruby Tuesday deserves praise for deciding to buy turkey meat from suppliers that use a less cruel slaughter method," says PETA Executive Vice President, Tracy Reiman. "Turkeys are wonderful animals who feel pain and fear, so reducing their suffering is very important."