Animal welfare campaigners have been protesting at McDonald’s headquarters in the UK over the company’s “lack of leadership” on the issue of chickens reared for meat.
The Humane League highlighted that the fast food chain uses free-range eggs and organic milk but sources chicken meat from birds that have “been bred to grow so fast their bodies can’t keep up”.
There has been daily leafleting and stunts by animal activists since the launch of the campaign in mid-August. The campaigners also handed over a petition signed by 236,000 people demanding better welfare standards for the chickens in McDonald’s supply chain.
McDonald’s defended its policies on animal welfare – farms have to meet “independently set farm assurance standards” and a global chicken sustainability advisory council has been established to “provide deep expertise … and recommendations for evolving our chicken welfare and sustainability strategy across the world”.
At a Footprint Forum last October, McDonald’s supply chain director Connor McVeigh, suggested that taking a stand on issues that customers care about, including animal welfare, are a key component in turning the fast food giant’s fortunes around.
The business benchmark on farm animal welfare 2018 listed McDonald’s in tier 2, which suggests the issue is “integral to business strategy”. However, it’s been in this tier since 2014.