Protestors, put away your signs. McDonald’s is changing slaughterhouse practices and plans to ethically source all its chicken from humane slaughterhouses by 2024. New guidelines will require chicken providers improve conditions by giving birds perches and clean coops in the slaughterhouse. Chickens must also be slaughtered by a process called “stunning,” or peaceful suffocation, rather than live slaughters.
But fear not, nugget-munchers, McDonald’s will bear the brunt of the cost for these changes, not consumers. According to Bruce Feinberg, a senior director at McDonald’s who oversees chicken, beef, pork, fish and dairy products, the changes are being made to ease animal cruelty-conscious customers’ minds.
He said in a statement: “While this might not be a direct impact on sales at McDonald’s, it might help certain segments of our customer base make purchasing decisions that they might not have otherwise made.”
While some of the picket signs may come down, there is still a lot of work to be done in terms of improving slaughterhouse supplier conditions across the fast food industry. Animal activists are commending the changes made, but as Humane Society CEO Wayne Pacelle wrote on his blog, there is much more to be done.
“[McDonald’s] failed to act on the most severe problem within its poultry supply chain,” he wrote, “allowing its suppliers to use breeds of chickens that have chronic health problems; the birds are extremely obese and grow so rapidly that some of them have a hard time standing or walking.”
Still, McD’s is clearly trying to get on the right side of the issue. Slaughterhouse changes are just some of the new, healthier improvements the chain is making. The McVegan — a vegan-friendly sandwich that launched in Finland on a trial basis until mid-November — is a meatless burger completely made of soy with the same topping options as the classic Big Mac.
With one less thing on our consciences, maybe counting calories will be the only thing left to worry about for those of us who can’t resist the occasional visit to the drive-thru.