McDonald’s Adopts Cage-Free Egg Policy Following Mercy For Animals Investigations

Today, McDonald’s—one of the largest fast-food chains in the world—announced a commitment to phasing out inherently cruel battery cages from its U.S. and Canadian egg supply chains, sparing nearly 8 million birds each year from a life of suffering. The announcement follows graphic undercover footage by Mercy For Animals exposing horrific animal abuse at multiple McDonald’s egg suppliers.

In 2011, MFA conducted undercover investigations at facilities operated by Sparboe Farms, a McDonald’s egg supplier, in Colorado, Iowa, and Minnesota exposing sickening animal cruelty. Hidden cameras documented hens laying eggs for McDonald’s Egg McMuffins packed so tightly into filthy wire cages that they couldn’t walk or freely spread their wings, severely sick and injured birds left to slowly suffer and die without proper veterinary care, and decaying bodies of dead animals in cages with live birds still laying eggs for human consumption. After release of the investigation, McDonald’s announced it would end its supplier relationship with Sparboe Farms, but did not address phasing out battery cages.

In 2013, MFA undercover investigations again revealed shocking animal cruelty, this time at McDonald’s Canada egg suppliers. The secret videos filmed at two Alberta factory farms showed birds trapped in cage wire, mangled by factory machinery, and suffering from open wounds. In addition, workers were caught on camera suffocating chicks in garbage bags.

Since these two investigations, MFA, along with nearly 75,000 U.S. consumers and nearly 120,000 Canadian consumers, have petitioned McDonald’s to phase out inherently cruel battery cages from its supply chain. Celebrities such as Ryan Gosling, Zooey Deschanel, Emily Deschanel, and Alicia Silverstone also told McDonald’s “I’m hatin’ it” by penning an open letter to the company calling for the company to implement meaningful animal welfare improvements for egg-laying hens.

While the company’s cage-free egg commitment marks a significant step forward for the protection of hens in North America, McDonald’s has not yet extended its animal welfare policies to chickens raised for meat. Just last month, hidden-camera footage taken at a McDonald’s Chicken McNugget supplier exposed birds beaten with clubs spiked with nails and chickens bred to grow so fast they frequently died from organ failure. Local law enforcement has launched a criminal animal cruelty investigation and nearly 175,000 consumers have petitioned the company to address these abuses with animal welfare reforms.

“We applaud McDonald’s for its commitment to phasing out cruel cages in its North American egg supply chain,” said MFA’s president, Nathan Runkle. “It’s high time that McDonald’s acknowledged that cramming animals in cages barely larger than their bodies is inhumane and unethical. With McDonald’s’ announcement, it’s never been clearer that the days are numbered for egg factory farms that pack birds in cages so small they can’t walk, spread their wings, or engage in other natural behaviors. McDonald’s should continue this praiseworthy progress by adopting meaningful standards for chickens killed for Chicken McNuggets.”

You can help! Tell McDonald’s that chickens raised for meat deserve protections just like those raised for laying eggs: