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Welfare campaigners launch new campaign against McDonald's

Welfare campaigners have launched a new campaign against global restaurant chain McDonald's this week, alerting customers and investors about the company’s broiler welfare policy.

Animal protection groups in the United States spent more than $200,000 on ads and creative protests during the run up and during McDonald’s annual shareholder meeting, which took place on 23 May.

The latest campaign follows a decision by McDonald's not to disclose to its investors the economic risks associated with its current broiler welfare policy despite the submission of a shareholder proposal by the Humane League

The campaign included a television advert featuring a cast of 25 celebrities, urging the company to adopt a comprehensive chicken welfare policy. The coalition, which includes Mercy for Animals, Animal Equality, The Humane League, Compassion in World Farming, Compassion over Killing and World Animal Protection, have united to ask McDonald’s to implement science-based welfare standards for its chicken supply chain.

The latest campaign follows a decision by McDonalds not to disclose to its investors the economic risks associated with its current broiler welfare policy despite the submission of a shareholder proposal by the Humane League.  Photo: Canva
The latest campaign follows a decision by McDonalds not to disclose to its investors the economic risks associated with its current broiler welfare policy despite the submission of a shareholder proposal by the Humane League. Photo: Canva

The coalition wants to see:

  • A switch to healthier breeds of birds
  • More room for the birds to move
  • Monitoring of air and litter quality in barns
  • Provision of environmental enrichment

Leah Garces, Mercy for Animals president, said more than 120 food companies, including Burger King, Chipotle, Starbucks, Denny’s and Subway, had committed to stronger animal welfare standards but McDonald's had failed to move.

“Chickens raised for McDonald's are bred to grow so large so fast that they cannot even walk without pain, and they’re packed tightly into dark, barren warehouses. More than 120 food companies have committed to ending these abuses, as they know consumers expect stronger animal welfare standards. But McDonald's has failed to act.”

More than 300,000 people have signed a petition demanding greater action from McDonald's.

In a statement at its annual meeting, held in Dallas, Texas, McDonalds said it made a commitment in 2017 to improve the living conditions of its chickens, and that it was doing so with technology and by improving housing and lighting for birds.

Robert Gibbs, the company’s chief communications officer, also addressed another contentious issue – whether McDonald's would add meat substitutes, like Impossible or Beyond Meat patties, to its menu.

Mr Gibbs said the company was interested in the space but was not planning to share any plans at this point.