Burger King, the world's secong largest fast food restaurant made a stunning announcement today that will really raise the bar for rival restaurants. Burger King said that by 2017, all of it's eggs and pork will come from cage-free chickens and pigs. The humane treatment of animals, namely chickens and pigs, by the restaurant and fast-food industry was been a huge issue for some time now. This was great news to Wayne Pacelle, president of the Humane Society of the United States who said, "So many tens of thousands of animals will now be in better living conditions."

Pacelle has been challenging Burger King and other companies to consider the welfare of the animals as part of their purchasing policies. This is huge because Burger King uses hundreds of millions of eggs and tens of millions of pounds of pork every year.

This could also have a tremendous impact on the egg and pork supply business who could boast about the humane methods they use to raise food animals. At present, nine-percent of Burger King's eggs and 20-percent of their pork are cage free.

The Humane Society of the United States, (HSUS), owns stock in 52 of these companies which means they can attend shareholder meetings and make presentations about improved animal welfare policies.

The HSUS has used undercover operations to show the horrendous conditions these animals endure. The hens that produce raised eggs are confined to cages that are about 81/2 by 11, the same size as a standard piece of paper. Most pork products come from sows that are confined to tiny crates during their four-month pregnancy.

This is a huge move by Burger King and their commitment could have an impact that goes way beyond the fast-food industry. We'll see.

[MSNBC]