Reading Time: 2 minutes The 'singing chicken' in McDonald's (Photo: CoK)
Reading Time: 2 minutes

The suffering of chickens in McDonald’s supply chain has been highlighted by leading animal protection organization Compassion Over Killing (CoK).

CoK sent a ‘singing chicken’ to the fast food giant’s headquarters in Chicago yesterday to ‘squawk out a telegram message on behalf of the hundreds of millions of birds suffering in its supply chain’.

Higher welfare

A costumed vocalist sang: “Chickens require a number of things: First, they want to spread their little wings. Have room to move around, peck the ground. Rapid growth makes chickens unhealthy, and McDonald’s it’s sad that you can be more wealthy. It’s chickens who pay the price, so stop rapid growth and just be nice.”

The latest action was part of a move by an animal protection coalition – including CoK, Animal Equality, The Humane League, and Mercy For Animals – which opposed McDonald’s treatment of birds. Campaigners want McDonald’s to commit to using different breeds of chickens that don’t grow as quickly, to give the chickens more space, better housing conditions, and more opportunity for natural behavior.

The coalition has also published a full-page open letter to the fast food giant in the Sunday New York Times, put up a video billboard being seen by millions in Times Square and organized a demonstration with actor Edie Falco in Times Square.

CoK sends a singing chicken to McDonald’s

Focusing on profits

Laura Cascada, Director of Corporate Outreach for Compassion Over Killing, said: “While McDonald’s focuses on its fast food profits, it’s allowing unnaturally fast growth to cripple hundreds of millions of birds in its supply chain.

“There’s a lot of sadness behind each Happy Meal. Right now, McDonald’s has the chance not only to address the suffering of animals raised for its menu, but also to get in on a sizzling meatless market by serving up a vegan option.”

The fast food chain currently only serves its ‘McVegan’ burger in Sweden and Finland/

‘Chicken Sustainability Advisory Council’

Responding to the open letter earlier this year, McDonald’s announced the launch of its ‘Chicken Sustainability Advisory Council’, which includes academics, researchers, and conservation organization World Wildlife Fund.

Nicola Robinson, Veterinary Surgeon and senior manager for Global Sustainability, McDonald’s Corp, said: “Launching the Chicken Sustainability Advisory Council to engage with a diverse community of experts in partnership with our trusted suppliers is a significant milestone in McDonald’s journey.

“As the world seeks to reconcile food production with the environmental limits of a finite planet, it is incumbent on all of us to ensure that production systems meet the welfare needs of food animal species, whilst protecting the ecological systems that sustain us all.

“I’m very proud of our work and am grateful for the opportunity to continue to advance the issues that I, my colleagues and our supplier partners, care so deeply about. It’s all part of building a better McDonald’s.”

Maria Chiorando

Maria is a news and features writer for Plant Based News. As a former magazine editor, newspaper reporter, and features writer, her work has been published by The Guardian, The Huffington Post, and various regional newspapers, as well as Vegan Life magazine and Vegan Trade Journal. She has interviewed a huge range of people, from Prime Ministers to authors, activists, pop stars and actors, and enjoys the varied range of topics writing for PBN allows her to tackle. She was previously the editor of Plant Based News for over 3 years.