More humane fast food.
The animal welfare movement has won over some new allies: fastfood chains. McDonalds, Burger King, KFC, and Wendy's have all underwrittcn research and hired animal welfare specialists to help them devise new standards ensuring more-humane treatment of the animals destined for their kitchens. Experts say that the food industry is responding to growing health concerns and criticism of the nation's factory farms, which raise over 8 billion animals (mostly chickens) a year. With McDonald's leading the effort, cages may soon be eliminated front some factory farms, and animals that are now knocked unconcious by electric stun guns before being killed could instead be gently put to sleep first, with gas. McDonald's has also pressed the egg industry to increase by half the amount of space allotted to egg-laying hens. And the company will insist suppliers stop feeding growth promoting antibiotics to healthy animals, to protect their effectiveness in humans. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) applauds the progress, hut says there's more to do. "These animals are not living in luxury suites being hand-fed grapes," says a PETA spokesman. "But this is an improvement."