Wendy\'s

Animal Welfare Program

Wendy's Policy

At Wendy’s, we take our role as a responsible corporate citizen very seriously, which includes the humane treatment of animals.

We believe it is our responsibility to expect all of our suppliers to exceed government regulations by meeting Wendy’s more exacting standards pertaining to the humane treatment of animals.

Wendy's Practice

Wendy’s believes that the key elements to humane treatment of animals are supplier education, employee awareness, commitment by senior management and our own, ongoing verification of supplier practices.

Studies have shown that humane animal handling methods not only prevent needless suffering, but can result in a better and safer working environment for workers in the farm and livestock industries.

Wendy's Priorities and Ongoing Initiatives

Proper Animal Handling: We believe that handling animals in a humane manner, and preventing neglect or abuse, is the right thing to do.

Food Safety and Quality: At Wendy’s "Quality is Our Recipe®." Our first priority has always been the safety and quality of our products. We know that handling animals properly helps keep the high integrity of our food.
 
Continuous Improvement: To remain an industry leader in the area of animal welfare, we actively work with our suppliers to research, evaluate and implement advances in the science of animal handling and care. 

Chicken

One of Wendy’s chicken suppliers, O.K. Foods in Ft. Smith, Arkansas, has installed an innovative system that significantly improves the welfare of chickens. Called LAPS (low atmospheric pressure system), it produces permanent unconsciousness in the bird before any handling by plant workers. It also replaces the industry standard practice of electrical stunning of chickens.

Wendy’s has studied the LAPS system and agrees that it’s a major improvement to industry practices. Wendy’s is the first quick-service restaurant chain to embrace the LAPS system, and we encourage all chicken producers to embrace this practice.

Pork

Update on Gestation Stalls: Wendy’s is working with its U.S. and Canadian Pork Suppliers to eliminate the use of sow gestation stalls over time. We believe that confining pigs in gestation stalls is not sustainable over the long-term, and moving away from this practice is the right thing to do.

Since 2007, Wendy’s has given preferential buying to those suppliers who adopt an ongoing plan to phase out single sow gestation stalls. As a result, an increasing portion of our pork supply has come from hogs not raised in gestation stalls.

In 2013, Wendy’s met on multiple occasions with pork industry representatives and outside experts to continue work towards our stated goal of sourcing only from gestation stall-free pork suppliers. As a part of this commitment, we now require every raw material and finished product supplier to submit quarterly progress reports that reflect the percentage of stall-free pork supplied to Wendy’s. Additionally, as a result of recent announcements by two suppliers who currently make up the majority of our raw materials (pork) business, we are confident we will continue to make progress towards our goal of eliminating the use of sow gestation stalls in our supply chain by the end of 2022. We maintain our commitment of achieving gestation stall-free sourcing, and welcome the ongoing and expanded cooperation from our suppliers.

Animal Welfare and Handling Audits

Wendy’s has been using an objective auditing program to monitor, verify and evaluate proper animal handling among our U.S. and Canadian suppliers. This effort is based on extensive research conducted by experts in animal behavior science.
 
Suppliers are audited at least annually. Any supplier that does not achieve an excellent score is audited at least twice each year to enforce our requirements. Audits are both announced and unannounced. Wendy’s protocol requires trained, experienced personnel to audit all approved suppliers for proper, safe and humane handling of all animals. These inspections and assessments – conducted by third-party and trained Wendy’s auditors – include a review of housing, transportation, holding facilities and humane processing procedures. More than 1,200 audits have been conducted over the last 12 years.

The results of these audits are evaluated with our expert animal welfare advisors, who have extensive experience in humane animal care and handling practices.
 
Importantly, companies that fail to meet our strict guidelines are terminated as approved suppliers of Wendy’s.

Wendy's Action

In the mid 1990s, Wendy’s began routinely auditing supplier animal handling practices. As part of this effort, we hired outside experts to review supplier performance and recommend improvements.

In 1998, we strengthened our existing program by adopting the comprehensive American Meat Institute animal welfare guidelines for beef and pork. These guidelines were developed by Dr. Temple Grandin of Colorado State University, a noted expert in the field of animal behavior, who is a consultant to Wendy’s.

In 2001, Wendy’s established an Animal Welfare Council to regularly review and strengthen the Company’s animal welfare standards. This council consists of senior and mid-level executives representing key areas of our business. This group reviews Wendy’s corporate policies and the performance of our suppliers to achieve full compliance with our stringent standards.

Wendy’s Animal Welfare Program Highlights:
The Animal Welfare Program for cattle, poultry and swine sets Wendy’s apart as an industry leader. Highlights of Wendy’s supplier requirements in this comprehensive program includes:

Wendy's Beef Supplier Requirements

Health

  • All cattle must be transported and handled in a manner that promotes good health and condition.

Transportation

  • Any animal unable to move normally due to illness or injury cannot be loaded for transport.
  • Trailers must provide cattle with adequate protection from the elements (wind, rain, heat, cold, etc.)
  • Animals must have sufficient area to allow freedom of comfortable movement while providing stability and security during transport.
  • Trailers must be cleaned on a regular basis as needed.

Holding and Handling

  • Facilities are designed to prevent heat stress.
  • Animals must be held after unloading for a proper rest.
  • During movement, the use of non-physical prodding alternatives, such as flags and streamers, is strongly recommended.
  • The unloading area must be in good condition with no potential injury points, such as broken gates, sharp metal edges, etc.
  • If cattle are held for 24 hours, they must be fed.
  • Clean, potable water must be available to the cattle at all times.
  • Pen and alleyway floors must be slip resistant and cleaned or bedded daily.
  • The holding pen must allow freedom of movement for the animals.

Wendy's Chicken Supplier Requirements

Health

  • All chickens must be transported and handled in a manner that promotes good health and condition.
  • Diets are formulated to promote good health. Water and feed must be available at all times. (Note: In 2002, Wendy’s suppliers eliminated the practice of withholding feed to laying hens to induce molting.)

Housing

  • Flocks of breeder and broiler chickens must be permitted freedom of movement throughout the entire house, while being protected from harm.
  • Chicken houses must be well ventilated to maintain good air quality and ensure ammonia levels do not exceed safe levels.
  • Floor bedding must be dry and maintained or replaced at a frequency to promote good health of the flocks.
  • Food and water must be adequately spaced and positioned to provide easy access.
  • Wendy’s Animal Welfare Program has included "laying hens" since 2001. This includes regular audits of our egg supplier’s bird handling practices. A portion of the eggs used in U.S. Company stores come from "cage-free" hens. We continue to evaluate this action based on animal science and best industry practices.

Wendy’s does not buy a significant quantity of eggs relative to the total volume in the egg industry. As we develop products using egg ingredients, we are committed to the thorough evaluation and testing of the welfare benefits of "cage free" systems.

Handling and Transportation

  • All equipment must be operated to prevent injury to the birds.
  • Each of Wendy’s suppliers maintains an incentive program to encourage employees to properly handle the birds.
  • Birds must have sufficient space in transport cages to allow comfortable movement while providing stability, security and thermal protection during transport.
  • Space allocation will be adjusted according to bird size and seasonal weather changes.
  • Side panels on transport cages must be used for cold weather protection.
  • Transport cages must be properly secured to the trucks to prevent them from falling.
  • All transport cages must be properly maintained with properly functioning doors.
  • Birds must be in good condition upon arrival at the processing plant.

Holding Area

  • Holding times will be minimized for the humane treatment of the birds.
  • The holding shed must be equipped to maintain a comfortable temperature for the birds.
  • The holding area must be equipped with sufficient fans for adequate ventilation within the transport cages.

Unloading

  • Cages must be carefully handled at all times to protect the birds.
  • Birds must be handled carefully to avoid injury.
  • Subdued lighting will be used to help keep the birds calm.

Wendy's Pork Supplier Requirements

Health

  • All swine must be transported and handled in a manner that promotes good health and condition.

Housing

  • Facilities are designed to prevent heat stress.
  • Holding areas must be bedded if the temperature drops below 32° F.
  • Animals must be held after unloading for a minimum of two hours for proper rest.
  • The unloading area must be in good condition with no potential injury points, such as broken gates, sharp metal edges, etc.
  • If hogs are held for 24 hours, they must be fed.
  • Clean potable water must be available to the hogs at all times.
  • Pen and alleyway floors must be slip resistant and cleaned or bedded daily.
  • The holding pen must allow freedom of movement for the animals.

Transportation

  • Trailers must provide adequate protection from the elements (wind, rain, heat, cold, etc.).
  • When temperature is below 32° F., bedding will be used.
  • Animals must have sufficient area to allow comfortable movement, while providing stability and security during transport.
  • Trailers must be cleaned on a regular basis as needed.

Holding and Handling

Recent pork industry efforts to move away from single sow gestation crates are a move in the right direction. Wendy’s has asked its suppliers to adopt a comprehensive plan to eliminate sow gestation stalls. We give preferential buying to approved suppliers who adopt an ongoing plan to implement this practice.

  • Facilities are designed to prevent heat stress.
  • Animal holding areas must be bedded if the temperature drops below 32° F.
  • Animals must be held after unloading for a minimum of two hours for proper rest.
  • The unloading area must be in good condition with no potential injury points, such as broken gates, sharp metal edges, etc.
  • If hogs are held for 24 hours, they must be fed.
  • Clean potable water must be available to the hogs at all times.
  • Pen and alleyway floors must be slip resistant and cleaned or bedded daily.
  • The holding pen must allow freedom of movement for the animals.

Wendy's Antibiotic Use Policy

Overview

At Wendy’s, we believe we have an opportunity and a desire to care for our customers and employees while also promoting the health and welfare of the animals that provide our food.

There is an ongoing public discussion among the scientific, consumer and agricultural communities regarding the use of antibiotics in livestock and poultry and the effect their use may have on human resistance to antibiotics.

This important discussion requires a focus on both public health and animal welfare. We believe that responsible animal care grounded in sound veterinary practices is essential to producing high quality, safe and affordable food, while also enhancing consumers’ trust and confidence in the food we all share.

Wendy’s has a long-standing commitment to animal welfare. For more than 15 years, we have been working with experts to develop, implement and audit animal care practices among our suppliers, and the appropriate use of antibiotics has long been a part of our policies.

Today, we believe that the U.S. farming and ranching community plays a vital role in feeding a hungry planet in a safe and affordable way. We also believe that there is opportunity to continuously improve veterinary care and animal husbandry practices to ensure that antibiotics are used appropriately and only when needed.

We care about the health and well-being of agricultural animals and believe that if they become ill they should be treated appropriately to promote a good quality of life, which sometimes may necessarily include the use of antibiotics.

We aim to replace, reduce and refine antibiotic therapy through their judicious use and by requiring animal management practices that do not rely on medically important antibiotics to increase production yields. 

We have the following principles that we expect our suppliers to adhere to and we will track our progress through auditing and partnership with our suppliers:

  • Replace – No antibiotics that are medically important to human health are to be used for growth promotion at any time.
  • Reduce – Antibiotics are only to be used where there is clear evidence that the animal has, or is at risk of developing, a health condition that antibiotics are needed to treat.
    • We commit to working with our suppliers to identify production practices that negate the need for antibiotics especially for routine prevention or control.
    • We also recognize that some consumers desire products from animals that have been raised without antibiotics.  We will work with our suppliers to understand and serve this consumer interest while continuing to protect animal health and welfare
  • Refine – When antibiotics are necessary, producers should work with their veterinarians and only use antibiotics as prescribed at the lowest dosage that has been proven to be effective. 

We commit to supporting veterinarians and optimizing animal care through evidence-based practices.

Wendy's Antibiotic Use Policies

Wendy’s policy strictly prohibits the use of antibiotics that are medically important to humans for the sole purpose of growth promotion. We believe that antibiotics used in livestock and poultry should only be used for the prevention, control and treatment of disease.  Suppliers to Wendy’s are required to adhere to the following Wendy’s Antibiotic Use Guidelines.

Wendy's Antibiotic Use Guidelines

Quality is Our Recipe: Wendy’s is dedicated to providing our customers with the safest, highest quality products in the foodservice industry. Food safety is Wendy’s uppermost priority and is the cornerstone of everything we do.

Animal Welfare: Wendy’s believes that responsible use of antibiotics to maintain animal health and well-being, or to alleviate suffering due to disease, is an essential element of good animal welfare practices.

Animal Husbandry: Good hygiene, nutrition, biosecurity programs, and immunization should be employed as the primary disease prevention strategies rather than antibiotic therapy. Use of antibiotics should only be used to supplement good animal husbandry practices.

Human Health: Reduce overall antibiotic usage in food animals, especially when the class of antibiotics used is both a human and food animal medicine. Employ alternative therapies, or use antibiotics not used to treat human disease whenever possible.

Managed Use: Antibiotics used to treat food animals must be administered under the auspices of licensed veterinarians that have met all training and certification requirements.

Prudent Use: Antibiotics administered to food production animals shall abide by the Judicious Use Guidelines set forth by the American Veterinary Medical Association. Extra label antibiotic therapy must be prescribed in accordance with the regulations set forth by the Animal Medicinal Drug Use Clarification Act.

Supplier Compliance: All suppliers are required to affirm in writing their obligation to conform to Wendy’s Antibiotic Use Policies and Guidelines. Suppliers will undergo regular audits by both trained Wendy’s Quality Assurance representatives and third party consultants to verify conformance to these requirements.