Chicken Well-being Standards
Our fans count on DQ® restaurants to deliver wholesome and safe food and treats using sustainable practices, which includes treating animals well. We believe in the humane treatment of animals and we expect our suppliers to comply with all applicable animal husbandry laws and industry best practices that define animal welfare policies and management systems. It is important to us that DQ fans enjoy and feel good about the food and treats they eat.
Our suppliers hatch, raise and harvest chickens in the United States, and we only source chicken from suppliers that meet the following welfare standards.
- Cage-free, climate-controlled barns with controlled lighting and ventilation
- 24/7 access to food, water and proper nutrition
- Healthcare monitored by licensed veterinarians
- Proper handling and transportation
- Efforts to reduce stress prior to harvest
- To be harvested using humane practices
We believe that chickens should be treated humanely, from hatch to harvest, when they are well and when they are ill. While we do not support the routine use of medically important antibiotics, we believe sick animals must be treated appropriately to reduce or end suffering and to control a disease outbreak. When antibiotics are administered by a licensed veterinarian for therapeutic purposes only, they contribute to overall animal well-being.
All our chicken suppliers conduct regular third-party audits using auditors certified by the Professional Animal Auditor Certification Organization (PAACO) to ensure they meet animal welfare standards. Should a supplier not meet a required standard, we would work with them on an appropriate action plan toward adoption or discontinue working with the supplier.
Cage-free Egg Commitment
In May 2016, we committed to requiring our suppliers in the United States and Canada to purchase eggs only from approved cage-free egg suppliers by 2025. We are making great progress.
In the U.S., 67 percent of shell eggs, liquid eggs, and proprietary DQ ingredients that contain eggs have either converted to cage-free or were reformulated to remove egg as an ingredient since we made our commitment. In Canada, 39 percent of shell eggs, liquid eggs, and proprietary DQ ingredients that contain eggs have either converted to cage-free or were reformulated to remove egg as an ingredient since we made our commitment. In both countries, we are on track to achieve our 2025 commitment for other proprietary ingredients and shell eggs, which are used only at DQ restaurants serving breakfast.
We are committed to continuously learning and reevaluating our animal welfare policies to ensure animals are treated humanely. We and our suppliers work with industry experts to advise and inform our animal welfare standards. As an ethical and principled company, we only commit to standards and guidelines that our suppliers and/or the industry can support and that are widely accepted as industry best practice. When we make a commitment, we have a plan and confidence that we and our suppliers will meet it and that the industry can support it. Anything less is contrary to how we do business.
Note: These standards apply to chicken suppliers who serve DQ restaurants in the United States through Unified Supply Chain Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of International Dairy Queen, and the Dairy Queen Operators’ Cooperative.