Mercy For Animals, known for exposing instances of animal cruelty across the country, has just released its newest undercover footage. The video, which was shot at McDonald's egg supplier Sparboe Egg Farms, the fifth largest egg supplier in the country, shows various acts of animal cruelty including:
- Hens crammed into wire cages
- Workers burning off the beaks of young chicks and throwing them into cages
- Workers grabbing hens by their throats and ramming them into battery cages
- Rotted hens and decomposed birds left in cages with hens still laying eggs for human consumption
- A worker tormenting a bird by swinging her around in the air while her legs were caught in a grabbing device
- A worker shoving a bird into the pocket of another employee
- Chicks trapped and mangled in cage wire, others with open wounds and torn beaks
- Live chicks thrown into plastic bags to be suffocated
Sparboe had produced all eggs used by McDonald's restaurants west of the Mississippi River. Mercy For Animals started a petition to urge McDonald's to uncage egg-laying hens, and McDonald's was fast to respond. McDonald's released a statement, sent via email to The Huffington Post, from Bon Langert, Vice President, Sustainability, that said:
McDonald's expects all of our suppliers to meet our stringent requirements for delivering high quality food prepared in a humane and responsible manner. Based upon recent information, we have informed our direct supplier, Cargill, that we are no longer accepting eggs from its supplier, Sparboe. This decision is based on McDonald's and Cargill's concern regarding the management of Sparboe's facilities.
This is not a food safety issue for our menu items. We can assure our customers that eggs in our entire supply chain meet McDonald's high standards for quality and safety.
Our primary commitment is to our customers, and we will continue serving safe, high-quality food without disruption.
Regarding the undercover videos, the behavior on tape is disturbing and completely unacceptable. McDonald's wants to assure our customers that we demand humane treatment of animals by our suppliers. We take this responsibility -- along with our customers' trust -- very seriously. It's important to note that the most alarming actions on video did not occur at Sparboe's Vincent, Iowa, facility that supplies McDonald's. Nonetheless, our extremely high standards for our suppliers prohibit this conduct.
McDonald's cares about how our food is sourced and we have a long history of action and commitment to improve the welfare of animals in our supply chain. We are a founding member of the Coalition for Sustainable Egg Supply (CSES) and are participating in an unprecedented three-year study that compares traditional, cage-free, and enriched laying hen housing systems on a commercial scale. For our customers, that means we’re working with scientists and suppliers to determine the most optimal hen housing method considering impacts on hen health & welfare, food safety, environment, and other important factors.
McDonald's is proud to be recognized as a leader in the restaurant industry for serving safe, quality food. Customers can feel good about eating at McDonald's.
Mercy For Animals executive director Nathan Runkle told ABC, which is airing the investigation tonight, that McDonald's action was "too little, too late." McDonald's is the largest egg buyer in the U.S. In the past year, the Humane Society and the United Egg Producers teamed up to reform the egg industry.
What do you think of McDonald's decision? Let us know in the comments and watch out the undercover footage below: