An email from the Vancouver Humane Society made its way into my inbox last week with the title Terrifying Timmies. If you are Canadian you instantly know that any mention of Timmies means Tim Hortons (also acceptable Ti Ho, Hortons, Tims). They are such a huge part of our lives here in Canada that if you ask someone if they want a coffee it is implied that you are going to Tim Hortons. I guess I have never really thought about their food and coffee and where it comes from but I haven't had Tim Hortons since I opened that email and honestly I do not know when I will again.
What is Tim Hortons doing that is causing me to boycott? They buy their eggs and pork from farms that use battery cages and gestation crates. These are practices that the majority of other fast food restaurants have already stopped using or have committed to stop using. Chickens kept in battery cages are confined so tightly that they can not even spread their wings. Cages are 18 inches by 18 inches and there are typically 6 chickens per cage. Pigs kept in gestation crates are also confined tightly within these small metal stalls that they can't even move or turn around. In both situations once the chickens stop producing eggs and the pigs can no longer give birth they are killed.
* Parts of Europe and the US have banned battery cages and gestation crates
* Tim Hortons has committed to have 10% of their eggs come from hen houses by 2013
* Tim Hortons sells over 100 million eggs each year
* Tim Hortons has committed to source crate free pork but gave no timelines
* 97% of all egg laying hens in North America live in battery cages
I believe it is a start that Tim Hortons is looking into their practices and looking for alternatives but it still leaves a sour taste in my mouth that they didn't think about doing this prior to public pressure. Affect change with your dollar! We need to vote with our purchases for more farmers to stop using battery cages and gestation crates. If we support companies and farms that use more humane practices then that 3% of the market will grow. Supply and demand baby! Even if you only buy their coffee you should still think about where your money is going. No Tim Hortons isn't the only company buying from farms that use these practices so do your research before you pick which companies you will support with your dollars. Your best bet is to buy local straight from a farmer and ask local restaurants where they get their food from!
You can sign a petition relating to this cause here.
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