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McDonald’s Opposes Cage-Free Egg Proposal

eggsMcDonald’s is opposed to a proposal that would require the fast-food chain to buy five percent cage-free eggs for its restaurants in the United States, reports the New York Times.

McDonald’s board of directors is recommending that the company’s shareholders vote against the proposal from the Humane Society. The board said the science was not available to support the transition to cage-free eggs.

The restaurant chain also says that its egg suppliers can use “battery cages” that provide 72 square inches of floor space per hen, but the Humane Society says it is not enough space for the hens.

Some major fast food companies, including Burger King, Subway and Wendy’s, as well as retailers Wal-Mart and Trader Joe’s, have made some commitment to purchasing or selling cage-free eggs, according to the New York Times.

McDonald’s, along with Bob Evans Farms, United Egg Producers, and others, have organized the Coalition for Sustainable Egg Supply (CSES) to evaluate the different housing systems for egg-laying hens, reports Truth about Trade and Technology.

Other members of the coalition include commercial egg producer Daybreak Foods, Cargill, Iowa State University, Michigan State University, the University of California-Davis and the American Humane Association. The American Veterinary Medical Association and U.S. Department of Agriculture are member advisers, and the Environmental Defense Fund is a non-member adviser.

Studies are already underway at Michigan State and California-Davis to compare cage housings used by most commercial egg producers with aviaries and enriched housing with nests and perches.

The coalition said the research will help egg producers, food manufacturers, restaurants and retailers make more informed decisions regarding their egg purchases.

But Paul Shapiro, senior director of the Humane Society’s factory farming campaign, told the New York Times that McDonald’s has already committed to 100 percent cage-free eggs by the end of 2010 for its European locations so there is a big disparity between what it’s doing there and in the United States.

As an example, McDonald’s Europe launched its Flagship Farms initiative last year, aimed at promoting sustainable agricultural practices among its suppliers and the farming community.

A spokeswoman for McDonald’s attributed the disparity to the high consumer demand for cage-free eggs in Europe and its more robust cage-free egg production infrastructure.

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9 thoughts on “McDonald’s Opposes Cage-Free Egg Proposal

  1. This is really weak, McDonalds. This is just an excuse to avoid change. The more you push away customers who DO demand more sustainable food the smaller your customer base gets. Its like Wal-Mart before their sustainability push. There is demand, McDonald’s – they just aren’t coming to your restaurant b/c you do things like label a pro-cruelty, pro status-quo coalition the ‘Coalition for a Sustainable Egg Supply’. Very Big Brother!

  2. Kudos to McDonalds. HSUS is crooked and their sole purpose in life is to destroy production agriculture. When will people realize that production of animals that are treated poorly would not result in profit. Therefore, the majority of producers DON’T do it.

  3. There would easily be a sustainable supply of eggs from free range farming. It would create more jobs (which is desperately needed in the flagging US job market) and would produce healthier, happier chickens. Do you really want to go to McDonalds and eat eggs that are from depressed, unhealthy animals? What effect will that have on peoples health in the long term?

  4. I applaud McDonalds and their decision. Instead of making a hasty decision on this subject, they are working with researchers at Land-grant universities to come up with the best solution for the hens, for the farmers and for their business. Bravo!

  5. Thanks McDonalds for using common sense and getting the facts first. Birds that are not comfortable don’t produce. Sound science backs current production practices. HSUS is nothing but a bully and I commend you for standing your ground. Americans want affordable food fast and you meet that demand well. Keep up the good work.

  6. There’s ample scientific evidence that battery cages for laying hens are inhumane. For example, the LayWel study (the most comprehensive analysis on the topic) used data from 230 flocks in seven nations and concluded that battery cages cannot even provide “satisfactory welfare.” And the Netherlands Journal of Agricultural Science published a study that ranked 22 different hen housing methods in terms of animal welfare on a zero-to-ten scale: Battery cages ranked zero, while “furnished” cages ranked 2.3 and typical U.S. cage-free production ranked around 5.9. Cage-free isn’t perfect, but at least it allows hens to move and engage in basic behaviors.

  7. McDonalds just wants to make as much money as possible, and obviously doesn’t care at all about the treatment of animals, or how their food is unhealthy and making America FAT. PEOPLE SHOULD OPEN THEIR EYES AND MAKE BETTER CHOICES FOR THEMSELVES AND OUR PLANET!

  8. This is directed at “commonsense”. “Birds that are not comfortable don’t produce.” Watch this video, and tell me if you would call this “comfortable”. http://www.goveg.com/factoryFarming_chickens_egg.asp

    Looks pretty comfy, huh?

    Sound science? “Science” is not needed here. Sorry. Try using… wait for it… common sense.

    Why would anyone need science to inherently understand that an animal is naturally not intended to be confined and thus– tortured?

    You say “Americans want affordable fast food.” No. They really just want to remain unthinking, lazy and gluttonous. And they definitely don’t want to face the reality of animal cruelty. McDonald’s is America’s friend, because McDonald’s enables the poor choices of Americans by grotesquely twisting “science” into something that validates a shit load of terrible judgement.

    People would rather feel “right” with lies than be proven wrong with Truth.

    Lastly– Just because most Americans demand a low quality existence doesn’t mean the evolved should remain silent while companies like McDonald’s continue to pacify the brainwashed masses.

  9. McDonalds needs to get the dollar signs out of their eyes and look at humane treatment of animals. Keeping chickens in cages is inhumane. This has NOTHING to do with science. If they don’t reconsider the issue, I will stop eating there.

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