- Kelli ValadePresident, Chili's
- Wyman RobertsCEO, Brinker International
Chili’s: Commit to Meaningful Welfare Standards for Chickens
My name is Kathy Beck, and as a former Chili’s employee, I know firsthand that the restaurant’s brand is in crisis. Chili’s has fallen behind its competitors by allowing its suppliers to cruelly abuse chickens in ways other chains have already banned.
Many of Chili’s competitors, including TGI Fridays, BJ’s Restaurants, Red Robin, Panera Bread, Chipotle, and dozens of other chains, have pledged to adopt Global Animal Partnership (GAP) chicken welfare standards and end live-shackle slaughter—that is, chaining chickens by their feet and dragging them through electrified water before cutting their throats.
Chili’s tries to convince consumers that it has made commitments similar to those of its competitors. But Chili’s standards fail to address the most urgent welfare issues in the company’s supply chain. Unlike other major food companies, Chili’s published policy fails to meet the criteria endorsed by leading farmed animal protection organizations in the U.S.
Please join me in asking Chili’s leaders to publicly commit to a reasonable time frame for adopting GAP standards and ending live-shackle slaughter. It’s time they caught up to their competitors. Let’s boycott their restaurants until they do.
- President, Chili's
- CEO, Brinker International
PRESIDENT KELLI VALADE
Chili’s has long been an industry leader. But by failing to adopt GAP chicken welfare standards, Chili’s is falling well short of the commitments made by its competitors and ignoring the public’s booming calls to meaningfully improve the treatment of chickens in its supply chain. GAP standards are necessary to prevent some of the worst forms of animal cruelty.
Chickens on typical factory farms have been bred to grow so large, so fast, that they sometimes collapse under their own weight. Many farmers keep chickens in near darkness so that the birds are unable to navigate their surroundings and stay still, gaining the weight that will leave many of them unable to move. The final weeks of their lives are often plagued with persistent, severe leg pain.
Because chickens are packed so densely, the litter on the barn floors becomes thoroughly soiled with excrement. As a result, some birds spend nearly all their time sitting in their own waste. Continual contact with wet litter causes extreme feather loss and painful sores on chickens’ bodies and feet. The air, noxious with acrid ammonia from the chickens’ waste, even makes breathing difficult. Under these nightmarish conditions, many chickens die from organ failure.
And the lives of those who do survive these houses of horrors all end the same way: At the slaughterhouse, chickens are killed by being shackled upside down and submitted to an electric shock in an often-ineffective attempt to render them unconscious before their throats are cut open.
Many of Chili’s top competitors, including TGI Fridays, Red Robin, and BJ’s Restaurants, have already publicly committed to adopting GAP welfare standards, which include third-party auditing to ensure compliance.
As a leading restaurant chain, Chili’s has the power and ethical responsibility to reduce suffering for millions of birds each year. Please take immediate action to address this issue. Chili’s should publicly commit to the same GAP welfare standards adopted by its competitors and require its suppliers to process chickens only in a manner that avoids live dumping and live shackling and instead uses a multistep controlled-atmosphere system, ending some of the worst cruelty associated with slaughter.
Until you publicly release such a commitment, and with the same 2024 implementation deadline as your peers, I will not eat at your restaurants.
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