McDonald's Board Recommends Vote for Cage Eggs

US - McDonald's Board of Directors is recommending shareholders to turn down a proposal to require five per cent of the company’s eggs to come from free-range hens.
calendar icon 19 April 2010
clock icon 3 minute read

The proposal came from the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), according to Food and Drink.

The proposal states that 'in keeping with McDonald's stated commitments to food safety, animal welfare and environmental issues, shareholders encourage the company to switch five per cent of the eggs it purchases for its US locations to cage-free eggs by January 2011.'

Burger King, Wendy's, Denny's, Quzinos, Carl's Jr. and Hardee's all use cage-free eggs in the US. In the UK, 100 per cent of McDonald's eggs are cage-free and McDonald's Australia is moving in this direction. In Europe, McDonald's has committed to exclusively use cage-free whole eggs.

Keith Kenny, Senior Director of McDonald's European supply chain, called this "the right thing to do" and said that it is "the latest step in McDonald's evolution from being a fast food company to a company that serves good food, fast."

However, according to Food and Drink, McDonald's Board has said: "There is no agreement in the global scientific community about how to balance the advantages and disadvantages of laying hen housing systems." They argue that free-range chickens "may pose more risk with regard to the spread of infectious diseases," also citing food affordability as an issue.

McDonald's US suppliers provide each hen just 72 square inches of cage space, on which to spend nearly their whole lives; this is not even enough room for hens to spread their wings. These cages will be banned in the European Union starting from 2012.

A McDonald's representative, Ronald Lisa McComb, said that there is no demand for cage-free hens in the US. McComb has also claimed that there is not the necessary farm infrastructure to provide such eggs on a large scale, despite Burger King, Subway, Wendy's, Trader Joe's and Wal-Mart already having made commitments to use cage-free eggs.

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