Posts Tagged ‘McDonald’s USA’

Big Announcement from McDonald’s – and What It Could Mean for Hens Everywhere

Wednesday, September 9th, 2015

McDonalds-Golden-Arches (1)

In countries like the US where there is very little legislation protecting farmed animals, it is often up to food companies to create major shifts in the market. When we look back at game changing moments, a select few come to mind. One of those moments came in 2012, when McDonald’s US made an announcement to move away from gestation crates (sow stalls) for pregnant pigs, where sows are kept in crates so small they cannot even turn around or lie down easily. Following their announcement, dozens of companies followed their lead.

The announcement McDonald’s made today is equally as groundbreaking: within 10 years they will be cage-free on all of their egg supply in both the US and Canada. They join a growing list of US companies, including Compass, Aramark and Sodexo, who also have announced cage-free policies.

This victory is tremendous. McDonald’s purchases 2 billion eggs each year in the US and 120 million eggs each year in Canada. That equates to over 7 million hens that are set to benefit each year as a result of this commitment.

McDonald’s has already gone cage-free across all 28 countries in the EU, and recently announced that McDonald’s New Zealand and Australia will also be going cage-free for eggs. The US and Canadian announcement tacks on yet another two countries to join their growing list of countries with cage-free policies.

This announcement will likely have a ripple effect within the industry at large, as their gestation crate announcement did. In short, I fully believe that this announcement signals the end of the cage-age for laying hens in North America, and beyond.

McDonald’s will be cage-free on all of their egg supply in both the US and Canada within 10 years

McDonald’s will be cage-free on all of their egg supply in both the US and Canada within 10 years

From all of us that have been working for many years, and in my case, decades, to rid our food system of cages for farmed animals, the significance cannot be overstated. And the excitement can be shared across all of the organisations that had a hand in influencing this leading global food company to adopt such a powerful stance against cages. In addition to Compassion, other organisations, including the Humane Society of the United States, have been working for years to encourage McDonald’s, along with other leading food companies, to implement a cage-free egg policy.

McDonald’s cited consumers growing interest in transparency, and desire to know where their food comes from as one of the reasons why they adopted this bold policy. Not only do we celebrate this victory across the organisations who worked to get to this day, we also share it with each and every consumer who have been pushing food companies to do better. Those demands for a more humane and sustainable food system are making a real impact on the lives of farmed animals.

McDonald’s USA behind the times

Wednesday, January 4th, 2012

In 2008, Compassion recognised McDonald’s with a Good Egg Award for committing to source only cage-free eggs for all their European outlets by 2012. The number of chickens set to benefit annually from this policy is 400,000.

Regrettably, McDonald’s in the USA appears not to be keeping up with their European counterparts.

A recent undercover investigation by Mercy for Animals (MfA) documented shocking animal cruelty at the farms of one of the suppliers to McDonald’s in the USA.

Hidden-camera footage detailed hens crammed into filthy wire cages unable to stretch their wings. Investigators caught on tape workers burning off the beaks of young chicks without any painkiller and then callously throwing them into cages. The bodies of decomposing hens were found alongside hens still laying eggs for human consumption.

Compassion applauds McDonald’s in Europe for their enlightened animal welfare policies. But we condemn the treatment of chickens in the USA as documented by Mercy for Animals.

We will work with MfA and other American animal protection organisations as well as McDonald’s USA to ensure they implement the same animal welfare policies as their European colleagues. It’s encouraging to see McDonald’s recognise the issues raised by MfA’s investigation. It said the video documented behaviour which was ‘disturbing and completely unacceptable’ and dropped the company as one of its egg suppliers.

Farmageddon on film

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About Philip Lymbery

Philip Lymbery is Chief Executive Officer of Compassion in World Farming and co-author of Farmageddon: The True Cost of Cheap Meat. He is an internationally respected authority on the impact of industrial agriculture on people, animals and the planet.