Wendy’s advances animal welfare initiatives

Company implementing new Animal Care Standards Program in 2020.

Krissa Welshans, Livestock Editor

January 22, 2020

4 Min Read
Wendys CSR_Logo.jpg

In 2019, The Wendy’s Co. combined its ongoing corporate responsibility efforts under one united banner it calls “Good Done Right.” This week, the company released its 2019 corporate social responsibility (CSR) report, highlighting a new commitment to have a comprehensive accounting of animal care best practices, including responsible use of antibiotics and animal housing conditions, by the end of 2024. The report also includes efforts to enhance benefits for employees and reduce the company's environmental footprint.

"At Wendy's, we believe that doing the right thing is the only way to do business," Wendy’s president and chief executive officer Todd Penegor said. "Being a responsible corporate citizen is a priority for our brand, and Good Done Right is our way to communicate how we're advancing various commitments to make a positive impact in the areas of food, people and our environmental footprint."

As part of its commitments, the company partnered with a third-party expert to conduct a formal materiality assessment to inform strategy and prioritize efforts moving forward. Insights from the assessment will help Wendy's set new corporate responsibility goals and commitments as it embarks on its next 50 years. More information regarding the assessment will be available in the coming months, the company noted.

Wendy's reported that it has already made significant progress in 2019 across its three key CSR pillars of food, people and footprint.

Specific to its animal welfare efforts, the company reported that in 2019 it sourced at least 30% of its beef from a group of producers who have each committed to a 20% reduction in the use of medically important antibiotics routinely used for cattle production. By 2021, it said it intends to have at least 50% of its beef supply participating in Progressive Beef or a similar program.

Regarding pork, Wendy's said it serves only pork that is 100% Pork Quality Assurance Plus certified. It is also currently working with suppliers and farmers who have committed to an intensive traceability protocol that supports its goals to track, trace, monitor and report on animal medical treatment histories for more than 75% of its pork supply by the end of 2022. Additionally, the fast-food chain said some producers are helping dive even deeper on available antibiotic usage data, which will be reported on in late 2020.

“We are also on track to source 100% of our pork supply from group housing environments by the end of 2022 and have given preference to suppliers helping us reach this goal,” the report noted.

On the broiler and egg front, Wendy's said it has implemented a process for selecting and auditing chicken suppliers, looking carefully for formulated nutritional feed, access to clean water, adequate room to grow, professional veterinary care and proper handling.

Wendy’s has eliminated all antibiotics important to human medicine from its chicken supply, which is process verified through the U.S. Department of Agriculture to ensure compliance.

Further, the company said it will continue to explore enhanced housing opportunities and new stunning methods with suppliers. By the end of 2020, it expects to have carbon dioxide stunning implemented in 100% of its Canadian chicken facilities.

As it relates to eggs, Wendy’s said it is on track to achieve a 100% cage-free egg supply by 2020 at the 300 locations for which it made commitments in 2016. The company plans to launch breakfast options nationwide in 2020 and is now working with suppliers and its Animal Welfare Council to evaluate next steps and to further research housing enrichments.

Work of the Animal Welfare Council will continue by enhancing relationships and auditing practices, according to Wendy's. The council was expanded in 2018 to bring in additional experts alongside Wendy’s leaders and subject matter experts. In 2019, the council was tasked with revamping the company’s standards, and the culmination of that effort will be the implementation of its new Animal Care Standards Program (ACSP) in 2020.

Under the ACSP, comprehensive new traceability standards will embrace management practices, treatment histories, antibiotic usage and housing environments and other key factors.

“The ACSP can help us find and reward progressive suppliers who go the extra mile to meet our standards and push us to raise the bar even higher,” Wendy’s said.

To read the full 2019 CSR report and learn about the company’s full spectrum of initiatives, click here.

About the Author(s)

Krissa Welshans

Livestock Editor

Krissa Welshans grew up on a crop farm and cow-calf operation in Marlette, Michigan. Welshans earned a bachelor’s degree in animal science from Michigan State University and master’s degree in public policy from New England College. She and her husband Brock run a show cattle operation in Henrietta, Texas, where they reside with their son, Wynn.

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