The giant fast-food restaurant chain McDonald’s has recently announced that they are planning to switch to cage-free eggs only. This will most likely take about ten years to implement in both Canada and the United States.
While the reason behind the decision is supposedly the company’s wish to provide healthier food and support animal welfare, the real motive might lie in the fact that their sales are constantly on decrease mode.
The fast-food company have also announced, earlier this year, that they are going to switch to using only chickens that are raised without most of the antibiotics that farmers usually use.
It remains unknown up to what extent the decision has been forced on them by various claims from groups that support animal welfare. A couple of weeks ago, McDonald’s decided to drop one of its egg suppliers after a video depicting workers torturing the birds was released online. This is, most likely, also a means to show that they care about what some people believe in.
Animal welfare activists have been trying to ban battery cages from farms for a long time now. In some states, new regulation was imposed regarding the size of these batteries, imposing farmers to provide larger housing for the birds. Some of the laying hens live in such cramped cages that they can never move their wings, the bars hurt their body and they are wounded and in pain all the time.
Thus, the Humane Society of the United States have been pushing huge companies like McDonald’s, which uses over four percent of the total production of eggs in the United States to switch to cage-free eggs as soon as possible.
“It’s a real watershed moment. It makes it clearer than ever that cages just do not have a future in the egg industry,” said Paul Saphiro, the vice president of farm and animal protection at the Humane Society of the United States when he heard about the decision.
Even if cage-free is still far from cruelty-free, it is a huge step forward as far as animal welfare is concerned.
The idea is not at all easy to implement, taking into consideration that almost 90 percent of the farms still use cages, simply out of economic reasons. Turning these farms into cage-free ones will involve a lot of costs for most of them. Some experts say that the timing couldn’t be better, since the avian flu killed so many birds that many of those cages were left completely empty.
Image Source: playingchef