Written by Katharine Richter
On September 9, 2015, according to a McDonald’s press release, the company stated in ten years all eggs used by the company in the United States and Canada will be laid by cage-free chickens. This goal will affect 16,000 restaurants in U.S. and Canada. According to the press release, “McDonald’s USA purchases approximately two billion eggs and McDonald’s Canada purchases 120 million eggs…” McDonald’s U.S. President, Mike Andres, stated that the decision comes from customers who are “increasingly interested in knowing more about their food” and also enforcing emphasis on food quality.
The Humane Society of the United States, in a press release, announced it applauded McDonald’s decision and were “optimistic that the switch can occur even quicker” than the proposed ten years. After McDonald’s announcement, the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, in coalition with numerous other groups, proposed a ballot initiative that would “curb extreme confinement and lifelong immobilization of animals at industrial-style factory farms.” The goal is for the proposal to be included on the 2016 statewide ballot but it will need 90,000 signatures to qualify.
Not all groups are applauding the announcement by McDonald's. Ken Klippen, president of the National Association of Egg Farmers, wrote an open letter to McDonald's. In the letter he comments on how McDonald’s has ignored science and cage-free chickens will not bring better quality eggs, nor a safer, less stressful environment for chickens. Other major agricultural groups have commented with concerns on McDonald’s decision and the proposed ballot initiative, such as rising costs for consumers and farmers and diminution of choice in animal living configurations.