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New Welfare Standards For Chickens Set By McDonalds


10/28/2017


New Welfare Standards For Chickens Set By McDonalds
In what is being described as the latest changes affecting popular menu items like McNuggets, new standards for raising and slaughtering chickens served in its restaurants will now have to be followed by the suppliers of McDonald’s Corp, the company said on Friday.
 
The mandates failed to address their primary concern about chicken production: birds bred to grow quickly to large sizes and fall short of commitments made by other restaurants, such as Burger King and sandwich chain Subway, animal activists said.
 
Suppliers such as Tyson Foods Inc and Cargill Inc must take other steps to improve animal welfare, provide birds with access to perches that promote natural behavior, and comply by 2024 with rules dictating the amount and brightness of light in chicken houses, under McDonald’s updated guidelines.
 
In order to measure the wellbeing of different chicken breeds, trials would also be conducted, pledged the world’s largest restaurant chain by revenue.
 
“I think it’s one of the most comprehensive programs that I’ve seen for chickens,” said livestock researcher Temple Grandin, who pioneered humane slaughterhouse practices and works with McDonald‘s.
 
In recent years, animal welfare groups have released undercover videos showing abuse at U.S. facilities, including those associated with Tyson, and therefore the treatment of animals in the food chain has become increasingly important to some consumers in recent times.
 
The latest changes to affect its menu that address concerns about animal and human health are marked by McDonald’s requirements. The company had earlier said it would shift to using cage-free eggs in the U.S and Canada and had previously stopped buying chicken meat for U.S. restaurants from birds raised with antibiotics deemed important to human health.
 
But typically, the cost of the products is raised by such moves.
 
It will not raise menu prices as a result of its new standards, said McDonald‘s, which has been working to boost flagging traffic at its U.S. restaurants.
 
“While this might not be a direct impact on sales at McDonald‘s, it might help certain segments of our customer base make purchasing decisions that they might not have otherwise made,” Bruce Feinberg, a senior director for McDonald‘s, said about the requirements.
 
McDonald’s moves were supported by Tyson and Cargill.
 
But by not committing to buying meat from breeds that grow slowly enough to protect chickens’ health, the chain failed the required standards of animal welfare, animal welfare groups have said.
 
“McDonald’s at this point is allowing the industry to continue in this inhumane direction,” said Josh Balk, a vice president for The Humane Society of the United States.
 
(Source:www.reuters.com)