Burger King reissues a whopper of a decree, will use only cage-free animals by 2017

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Burger King has reiterated its 2007 pledge to become a more merciful ruler by purchasing all its eggs and pork from cage-free suppliers by the year 2017.

His plastic-faced, paper-crowned highness uses hundreds of millions of eggs, and tens of millions of pounds of pork every year.

Most of the eggs come from chickens confined to tiny so-called “battery cages,” a condition critics have called inhumane. Meanwhile, sows are kept in small crates during pregnancy, with no room to move or even sit down.

But soon, all that will change. The fast food chain's restated pledge is an acknowledgement of a growing public desire for food that's produced humanely.

At least one major push in that direction came four years ago when California voters overwhelmingly passed Proposition 2 -- a measure allowing California Health and Safety Code to prohibit veal crates, sow gestation crates, and battery cages.

All are forms of confinement that do not allow animals to turn, stretch, lie down or stand up.

Burger King is one of the first major chains to make the transition. According to the Humane Society, similar changes have been taking place at Subway, Wolfgang Puck and Unilever (which produces, among other things, Hellmann's Mayonnaise).

A flame-broiled trailblazer, Burger King may be the largest fast-food chain to take the cage-free pledge, but look for others to follow. McDonalds and Wendys are talking about it.

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