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Our Approach

Animal welfare is an issue of critical importance for Restaurant Brands International, our stakeholders, investors, restaurant owners, vendors and guests. Our ongoing commitment is to monitor and require strong animal welfare practices throughout our global supply chain, including all our key land-based proteins: beef, dairy, pork, and chicken.

In providing high quality, safe food to our guests, we believe that we also have a responsibility to ensure the health and welfare of farm animals. While we are not directly involved in the raising, feeding, handling, transportation or processing of animals, we consider animal welfare to begin on the farm and therefore seek strong commitments with our suppliers to ensure that farm animal welfare is upheld in our supply chain.

Our approach to animal health and welfare is twofold: we require our vendors to abide by applicable local laws, regulations, and codes of practice. In addition, our work to improve farm animal welfare in our global supply chain is guided by the Five Freedoms of Animal Welfare, a globally recognized set of standards on animal welfare established by the Farm Animal Welfare Council:

  • Freedom from Hunger and Thirst

  • Freedom from Discomfort

  • Freedom from Pain, Injury or Disease

  • Freedom to Express Normal Behaviour

  • Freedom from Fear and Distress

We are also working with our land-based protein suppliers to address those practices that may contravene the Five Freedoms where we can influence processes, such as:

  • Close confinement
  • Breeding for single (production) attributes that cause poor welfare outcomes
  • Barren environments that restrict normal behavior
  • Outline use of painful procedures where alternative management options exist and the performance of necessary procedures without pain mitigation
  • Routine use of antibiotics and other growth hormones used to speed up growth and mitigate poor conditions

Restaurant Brands International is working with our current approved suppliers to address these practices and, wherever possible, favour suppliers that provide better welfare practices. Our commitment to animal welfare extends beyond legal requirements and we are looking to further adopt requirements related to animal welfare.

While seafood is not as large of a global spend or across as large of a product portfolio, some of our brands source seafood which our guests enjoy. As such, we will also evaluate our animal welfare approach with seafood, as applicable.

We recognize the need for continuous improvement with respect to animal welfare and are committed to the ongoing evaluation and adoption of best practices within the industry, our supply chain and others.

Animal Welfare Auditing

All Burger King and Tim Hortons beef and poultry raw material vendors supplying for core products in the Burger King or Tim Hortons brands, worldwide, are required to submit to mandatory annual third-party audits that include animal welfare standards. Standards for animal welfare include those from the American Meat Institute and National Chicken Council. We are currently in the process of upgrading our quality assurance system to better address the impacts of our sourcing including on animal welfare and, in 2020, we will expand our animal welfare audit program to include approved Popeyes suppliers worldwide.

Cage-Free Eggs

Eggs are a staple in many of our products and we strive to provide our guests with the highest quality and safest ingredients. By 2025, Burger King and Tim Hortons will transition to 100% cage-free eggs in the U.S., Canadian, Mexican and Latin American markets.

Broiler Chicken Welfare

To increase the welfare of broiler chickens, wide-scale change will take time and must be undertaken in a thoughtful manner using best practices supported by science and rigorous research. The Global Animal Partnership (GAP) standards offers solutions in the areas of breed, stocking density and environment, and we will work with our suppliers, animal welfare experts and others in the industry to align on these solutions.

By 2024, in the US and Canada, Burger King, Popeyes, and Tim Hortons will target the following:

  • Transition to using breeds determined to have better welfare outcomes
  • Provide more space by reducing maximum stocking density, per GAP Standards
  • Enhance living environments including litter quality, lighting and enrichments, per GAP Standards
  • Utilize a multi-step controlled-atmosphere stunning system

Sow Housing

Appropriate housing for pigs, particularly pregnant sows, represents a key aspect of animal welfare in the pork industry. Restaurant Brands International is committed to working with suppliers, researchers and the pork industry to improve the welfare of sows by transitioning to more humane forms of housing.

Looking forward, Restaurant Brands International is committed to sourcing pork globally only from approved suppliers that do not use gestation crates. We aim to accomplish this goal in US and Canada by 2022 and in Latin America by 2025.

Antibiotics

Restaurant Brands International strictly prohibits the use of antibiotics solely for the promotion of growth. However, we recognize that antibiotics play an important and delicate role in animal wellbeing and human health. Antibiotics are sometimes required to control and treat disease to maintain animal health and welfare but we also have a responsibility to ensure their wellbeing.

We believe that it is imperative to reduce the use of antibiotics which are important for human medicine in order to preserve the effectiveness of antibiotics in both veterinary and human medicine. We continue to collaborate with suppliers and academics, as well as closely monitor the guidance of external experts such as the World Health Organization and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, with respect to the matter of antibiotic resistance.

We expect our approved suppliers to purchase products only from farmers that administer antibiotics in a judicious and responsible manner when treatment is necessary, in keeping with veterinary and regulatory requirements. Treatment of poultry with antibiotics must be in full compliance with all applicable requirements and under the supervision of a licensed veterinarian. Antibiotics may not be used for growth-promotion purposes (i.e., feed efficiency, weight gain, etc.) and any unused antibiotics must be disposed of properly.

As of 2018 in North America, both the Tim Hortons and the Burger King brands only sourced chicken raised without the use of antibiotics important to human medicine as defined by the World Health Organization in Critically Important Antimicrobials for Human Medicine 5th Revision 2016. Our approved suppliers for Tim Hortons and the Burger King brands in USA and Canada must provide and maintain, on record, an annual letter of guarantee from each of their raw material suppliers as supporting documentation for monitoring of compliance.

In 2020, we will build on our progress by measuring and understanding the current usage of antibiotics in the chicken supply chain for Popeyes, as well as the beef supply chain for Burger King and Tim Hortons. By the end of 2020, we will establish reduction targets, for US and Canadian markets, related to the use of antibiotics important to human medicine in these areas.

We will work closely with our supply chain vendors and franchisees to implement these changes and continue to identify opportunities to monitor and limit the use of medically important antibiotics in our other land-based proteins. All our approved protein suppliers are currently required by applicable law to adhere to legislated antibiotic withdrawal times. These practices ensure that all antibiotics have cleared each animal’s system before it enters the food supply.

Learn more about other sustainable sourcing in our supply chain: