Photos: Flickr, CC and Flickr, CC
Meanwhile, McDonald's Europe is Going 100% Cage-Free
The battery cage photo above is described this way: "95% of egg laying hens in the United States spend their entire lives in a battery cage like this one. 6-8 birds are confined to a cage this size; each bird having less room than a standard sheet of notebook paper to live her entire life. In these crowded conditions, they are unable even to spread their wings." This is the type of living conditions that McDonald's board of directors seems to think is appropriate for the chickens that produce the eggs used to make its meals in the U.S.The European Union has passed a law that bans conventional battery cages starting in 2012, so McDonald's Europe has committed to being 100% cage-free over there by the end of 2010. But in the U.S., a proposal for 5% cage-free eggs (a start) put forward by the Humane Society was rejected by the board, and it was recommended that the company's shareholders vote against the proposal.
What is probably purely a monetary decision was justified by the restaurant chain by saying that there's no "agreement in the global scientific com munity about how to balance the advantages and disadvantages of laying hen housing systems." The Human Society responds to that by pointing out that there's ample scientific evidence, including a report by the Pew Commission.
But do we really need years of studies and research to realize that cramming 6 to 8 birds in a cage that we're probably consider too small for a pet cat isn't humane? And it's not like most cage-free operations are perfect either, though they would be a step in the right direction from the status quo.
Come on McDonald's, show some leadership here. Other U.S. chains have already started taking action on this, you should use your weight to do even better.
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