Activists Want McDonalds To Use Cage-Free Chickens, Eggs

OAK BROOK, Ill. (CBS) — The animal rights group that prodded McDonald’s into dropping a major egg supplier now wants the fast-food giant to take a stand on the conditions in which the chickens are kept.

“Our concern is that McDonald’s has simply shifted the abuse from this supplier, that has been investigated and exposed, to another factory farm that is engaging in the same abusive behavior that hasn’t been exposed,” said Nathan Runkle, the executive director of the group Mercy for Animals.

In a letter dated Saturday, Runkle asked to speak directly with McDonald’s CEO Jim Skinner on such issues.

He said he wants the fast-food giant to agree to prod suppliers into abandoning the small “battery” cages used by Sparboe Farms, the supplier McDonald’s dropped Wednesday.

The group also wants McDonald’s to demand a cage-free atmosphere in which chickens can nest and can have perches and scratching posts. It also wants an end to the practice of burning off the beaks of young chicks without painkillers.

“McDonald’s is the largest egg purchaser in the United States and they have incredible power,” he said.

Runkle said McDonald’s has forced suppliers in other areas to change their practices to eliminate practices considered inhumane, and said McDonald’s in Europe already has moved to cage-free suppliers as part of an EU-wide effort.

McDonald’s had not received the group’s letter as of mid-afternoon Saturday, but spokesperson Lisa McComb said that the fast-food provider is already involved in a “giant” study of hen-housing practices and methods. She said each has its advantages and drawbacks.

Since the Food and Drug Administration issued its warning letter to Sparboe Farms Wednesday, both McDonald’s and Target Corp. have dropped it as a supplier. FDA conducted inspections at several Sparboe facilities April-June of this year, while Mercy for Animals used hidden cameras, infiltrating some of the same factory farms, May-August.

McComb said the Sparboe farm in Vincent, Ia., is the only one that provided eggs to McDonald’s, and said it was not one of the targets of the Wednesday FDA warning or the videotaping.

But McComb said it did not matter where the practices called into question by Mercy for Animals occurred.

“That’s completely unacceptable,” McComb said. “We’re not going to work with a company that is okay with that.”

  • Profit Margin

    McD’s stopped doing business with this company due to animal abuse.

    Why didn’t McD’s investigate this when they began doing business? Wouldn’t you want to know everything about a subcontractor you hire?

  • mark hunt

    do you think they care what you want. McDonald’ had made billions of dollars selling cheap fast food.that’s what the customers that go there want if you don’t like it don’t eat there. they don’t really care i’m sureit’s not going to make much of a difference on there business they will still make billions more

  • Jim Hamilton

    Come on jim Skinner ignore these bozos. They obviously have nothing to do in their own personal life but sit around on their lazy azzes drawing Obama and Quinns unemployment retirement check, eating their happy meal and LSD think suplements.

  • Vicky Kujawa

    Miserable conditions=miserable animals=unhealthy food. Don’t believe me? Take a good look at what a typical McDonalds customer looks like.

    • Jim Hamilton

      If you dont like the food then don’t eat there.

      Funny how you people can sterio type with words like typical McDonnalds customer, but if someone says the typical black man is resposible for all the murdering, robbing, rape he’s racist.

      another Hypocrite left wing

  • Dyell

    This is disgusting, appalling, terrifying and one of the reasons why I don’t eat eggs anymore. Imagine if instead of chickens, it were dogs and cats being treated in this manner.. people would be outraged. These animals deserve the same rights and care we award our house pets. Chickens are beautiful, intelligent beings with their own desires and personalities. More than 95% of the eggs produced in America come from hens crammed in tiny cages, totally denied every natural instinct and action, no room to stretch their wings, many suffering from countless injuries. For more info, check out and

    • Jim Hamilton

      That chicken is here to serve 2 purpose in life:
      1. Produce my eggs for breakfst.
      2. Become my chicken breast sandwich when she can no longer lay.

      End of story

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