United Poultry Concerns July 20, 2001
Letter to Burger King from United Poultry Concerns

Mr. John Dasburg,
Burger King Corporation
17777 Old Cutler Road
Miami, FL 33157

Dear Mr. Dasburg:

On behalf of United Poultry Concerns, thank you for your July 12 letter from Consumer Response Representative Eve Taylor in response to my letter of January 18, 2001, urging Burger King to meet and exceed the welfare standards set by McDonald's in 2000.

United Poultry Concerns is pleased to acknowledge Burger King's initial steps to improve welfare standards for birds and other animals owned by Burger King's suppliers. Your decision to require that cage size for laying hens be increased from 48 to 75 square inches per bird, enabling each hen to be able to stand fully upright for the first time ever, will benefit over 300 million hens in the U.S. and Canada each year. Burger King's prohibition of forced molting of laying hens by means of food and water deprivation is equally commendable. However, we urge Burger King not just to "discourage" the cruel practice of debeaking, but to prohibit the practice entirely.

Burger King said the company will begin announced audits of livestock and poultry slaughtering facilities this fall, and will complete them by June 30, 2001. Does this mean that Burger King will audit "spent hen" slaughter plants as well as "broiler" chicken slaughter plants? We would appreciate a response to this question.

While we thank you for petitioning the U.S. Department of Agriculture to actively and fully enforce the U.S. Humane Methods of Slaughter Act, we must remind you that 98 percent of animals slaughtered in USDA establishments are birds, the majority of whom are chickens. Over 8 billion chickens are being slaughtered each year in the U.S. without federal protection. These birds are not stunned (rendered unconscious), but are slaughtered fully conscious after been tortured with paralyzing electric shocks administered through an electrified waterbath. They are intentionally kept alive through the entire slaughtering process. We therefore must ask what exactly your audit of your suppliers' chicken slaughter plants will consist of with respect to welfare criteria? Once again, thank you for your decision to improve the lives of millions of birds and other animals by adopting animal handling and welfare guidelines. However, we do need to ask how you plan to apply these guidelines in chicken slaughter plants and whether your audits will include spent hen facilities. I look forward to your response.


Karen Davis, PhD

United Poultry Concerns. July 20, 2001

United Poultry Concerns, Inc.
PO Box 150
Machipongo, VA 23405-0150
FAX: 757-678-5070

(Letter to Burger King from United Poultry Concerns)