Compassion is catching on. Fast food chains are beginning to incorporate plant-based options and adopt meaningful animal welfare policies to meet consumer demands. Unfortunately, McDonald’s is falling behind on the trend by refusing to implement better treatment for their chickens.
Recently one fast food chain, Carl’s Jr, debuted a menu item called the Beyond Famous Star, which includes a Beyond Burger patty. This burger patty is 100% plant-based, but resembles a beef patty—even “bleeds” like one too. The vegetarian burger can easily be made vegan by requesting it with no cheese or mayo. Not only is this a convenient option for vegans, but an opportunity to change the minds of meat-eaters. A significant victory for farmed animals!
Similarly, A&W, a fast food chain primarily based in Canada, released the Beyond Burger and it was so successful that it sold out nationwide within weeks. Del Taco created a taco menu item using Beyond Beef Crumbles, but currently is only available at limited locations. Pizza chains such as MOD Pizza, Blaze Pizza, and Pieology offer vegan cheese usually at no added cost. Mexican chains including Taco Bell can be easily be customized by asking for “Fresco Style”, which removes all dairy, and at Chipotle, customers can add a tofu-based meat called Sofritas to any entree. The list goes on!
Sadly, even though veganism is on the rise, so is meat consumption. Since large fast food corporations sell millions of dollars each year in foods containing animal products, farmed animals are seriously exploited, despite more vegan options on the market. Encouraging them to end the worst practices for their supply chain will overall greatly reduce the suffering that these animals experience.
The good news is that consumers want animals to be treated humanely and many fast food chains have already implemented these welfare policies. Just to name a few are Burger King, Jack In the Box, Chipotle, Subway, and Starbucks who have all agreed to improve their chicken welfare policy. It’s a shame that McDonald’s, one of the largest corporations in the world with the power to help millions of chickens, refuses to make the switch.
The chickens in McDonald’s supply chain suffer immensely. Thousands of chickens are stuffed in filthy, windowless sheds where they are unable to move around or go outside. Bred to grow extremely large in short amount of time, these chickens will suffer heart problems and broken leg bones from trying to support their own weight. Since these chickens are sitting in their own waste, they will experience burns from the ammonia in their urine. It’s clear McDonald’s does not put value on animal welfare.
Organizations like The Humane League are putting pressure on McDonald’s with a campaign called I’m Not Loving It. Animal activists from all over are taking action to hold McDonald’s responsible. These actions include participating in protests, leafleting, collecting signatures for a petition, posting on McDonald’s social media, writing letters and postcards to McDonald’s executives, making phone calls to McDonald’s employees, and so much more. The ultimate goal is have McDonald’s commit to improving living conditions such as providing fresh litter, better lighting, and more space, and adopting a smaller breed of chicken. Alleviating the worst forms of abuse will be a step in the right direction.
It’s time McDonald’s follows the industry trend. It’s time to more towards a better world for animals.