Tim Hortons Announces Major Initiatives to Improve Animal Welfare for Pigs and Chickens

Tim Hortons has called upon the pork industry and our suppliers to eliminate gestation stalls for sows and to develop clear plans and timelines by the end of the year to phase out these housing systems. We have also set a goal of purchasing at least 10 per cent of our eggs, representing significantly more than 10 million eggs, from enriched hen housing systems by the end of 2013.  We plan to actively evaluate the industry’s capacity to provide eggs from enriched housing systems, and to progressively increase our commitment beyond 2013 as additional supply becomes available.

The Company intends to give preferred sourcing to pork suppliers who have clearly documented plans to phase-out the use of gestation stalls, and egg suppliers working to phase-in enriched hen housing systems.  Tim Hortons will share next steps in early 2013, after reviewing industry plans and having further dialogue with the egg and pork industries and other animal welfare stakeholders.

“We’re calling for an end to gestation stalls for sows and to significantly increase the use of alternative housing systems for hens. We believe there are better, more humane and sustainable housing systems that can improve the quality of animals’ lives. Striking a balanced, realistic solution for the farming community, which will need to make significant investments in new buildings, is also essential, and we fully recognize this will take time,” said Paul House, president and CEO, and executive chairman, Tim Hortons Inc.

In addition to these major commitments, Tim Hortons is planning other animal welfare initiatives.  In 2012, we will commission scientific, fact-based animal welfare research with leading academic institutions on sustainable, humane animal housing systems.  Further, we plan to call for a North American-wide summit of restaurant companies interested in the humane treatment of animals in the restaurant industry supply chain.

“We hope and expect that our initiatives can help speed up the process by which farmers and producers will phase out gestation stalls for sows and move to alternative hen housing systems, so they can in turn meet industry and guest demand for such products,” added House.

These new initiatives build on our commitments announced earlier this year to source at least one per cent of eggs in our supply chain from enriched hen housing systems, and to work with the pork industry to develop long-term, realistic improvements in pork housing systems.  Tim Hortons is committed to achieving meaningful and sustainable progress in animal welfare in a way that reflects the Company’s and our guests’ values.

“The Canadian Federation of Humane Societies congratulates Tim Hortons on recognizing the importance of good animal welfare by calling on its suppliers to eliminate the use of gestation stalls,” said Barbara Cartwright, CEO, CFHS. “The CFHS supports all efforts and commitments towards the sustainable implementation of carefully designed and managed alternatives to conventional confinement housing systems.”

Currently, the egg and pork industries do not have enough hens in enriched housing or sows not housed in gestation stalls to meet the restaurant industry’s needs on a viable scale.  Most hens and sows are not housed in these systems. 

It is estimated that 97 per cent of egg-laying hens in North America are housed in non-enriched cages.  It is estimated that more than 70 per cent of breeding sows in the U.S. are housed in gestation crates, while estimates are unknown for Canada as the pork industry has been downsizing over the last number of years. Enriched hen housing systems allow for natural hen behaviours such as nesting, scratching and perching, and similar housing systems are already the standard in the European Union.  In the United States, pending approval, legislation will require the phase in of enriched hen housing systems over a 15-18-year period.

Tim Hortons is one of the largest publicly-traded restaurant chains in North America based on market capitalization, and the largest in Canada. Operating in the quick service segment of the restaurant industry, Tim Hortons appeals to a broad range of consumer tastes, with a menu that includes premium coffee, espresso-based hot and cold specialty drinks including lattes, cappuccinos and espresso shots, specialty teas, fruit smoothies, home-style soups, fresh sandwiches, wraps, hot breakfast sandwiches and fresh baked goods, including our trademark donuts. As of January 1st, 2012, Tim Hortons had 4,014 systemwide restaurants, including 3,295 in Canada, 714 in the United States and five in the Gulf Cooperation Council. More information about the Company is available at www.timhortons.com.