Did your chicken come from a house of horrors? If you eat at Wendy’s, the answer is likely yes. Other major food companies, including Burger King, Boston Market, Subway, Jack in the Box, Einstein Brothers Bagels, Chipotle, Panera Bread, Starbucks, TGI Fridays, Noodles & Company, Pret A Manger, Le Pain Quotidien, Shake Shack, and Quiznos, have already pledged to use only chickens raised under higher welfare standards. But Wendy’s has yet to publicly ban its suppliers from packing chickens into dark, crowded warehouses where continual contact with soiled litter can cause extreme feather loss and painful sores on the chickens’ bodies and feet. At the slaughterhouse, chickens are hung upside down by their feet, a painful process that makes breathing difficult as other organs compress the birds’ lungs. Finally, the chickens are shocked with electricity and cut open. This is inexcusable.

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Tell Wendy's CEO Todd Penegor to stop using chickens tortured in houses of horrors. Act now!

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Wendy’s has long been an industry leader. But by continuing to use chickens raised in cruel houses of horrors, Wendy’s is ignoring the public’s booming calls for better animal welfare. The chickens Wendy’s uses are packed into dark, crowded warehouses by the tens of thousands. Many suffer from constant leg pain so severe they spend nearly all their time sitting in their own waste. Continual contact with soiled litter causes extreme feather loss and painful sores on the chickens’ bodies and feet.

To prevent chickens from walking around, many farmers keep the farms in near darkness all day long. Most birds will not see the sun until the day they are killed. Many die from organ failure. And the lives of those who do survive these houses of horrors end the same way: The birds are shackled upside down by their feet, have their throats cut open, and bleed to death.

Wendy’s has also fallen behind several leading food companies, including Burger King, Boston Market, Subway, Jack in the Box, Einstein Brothers Bagels, Chipotle, Panera Bread, Starbucks, TGI Fridays, Noodles & Company, Pret A Manger, Le Pain Quotidien, Shake Shack, and Quiznos, all of which have already committed to ending the use of chickens raised in these unconscionable conditions.

As a leading restaurant chain, Wendy’s has both the power and the ethical responsibility to reduce suffering for countless birds each year. Please take immediate action to address this issue by pledging to stop using chickens raised in these houses of horrors. Wendy’s should commit to sourcing only chickens from farms that use higher-welfare strains of chickens, do not use live-shackle slaughter, and provide enrichments, reduced stocking density, and improved light and litter quality consistent with Global Animal Partnership standards. Wendy’s should also set an aggressive timeline for meeting this commitment. Until you publicly release such a commitment and timeline, you will not have my business.

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Explore the Hidden Lives of Chickens

Chickens are sensitive and intelligent animals with advanced cognitive abilities that rival those of dogs, cats, and even some primates. Studies show that chickens excel at complex mental tasks, can learn from watching each other, and are even able to pass down information from one generation to the next.

Chickens are very social animals who can form deep and meaningful friendships with other birds. Some birds are outgoing and gregarious, while others are more shy and reserved. But all chickens put family first, giving rise to the term “mother hen” to refer to particularly protective parents.

The communication skills of chickens are highly sophisticated and begin developing at an early age. Mother hens will cluck to their chicks while they are still in their eggs, and the unborn chicks will chirp back at them. Researchers know of at least 30 types of vocalizations that chickens make to mean very different things.

The best way for individual consumers to help end this cruelty is to leave animals off their plates.