Cage Free Petition Campaign – McDonald’s SA
In September 2015, McDonald’s International committed to phasing out battery cages from their supply chain in Canada and the United States within 10 years. McDonald’s has made previous animal welfare commitments (impacting its supply chains in Europe, North America, and South America), but no corresponding commitments have been made in South Africa.
Beauty without Cruelty SA, United Front 4 Animals (UFA), OWL, South African Faith Communities’ Environment Institute (SAFCEI) and Animal Voice, the official South African representative of Compassion in World Farming have added their voices to this campaign.
Since January 2016, Beauty Without Cruelty, United Front for Animals, and Southern African Faith Communities’ Environment Institute have written to Greg Solomon (CEO of McDonald’s South Africa) and Sechaba Motsielo (Corporate Affairs Director of McDonald’s South Africa), asking them to adopt a cage-free policy.
McDonald’s SA responded to Beauty Without Cruelty in February 2016: “McDonald’s South Africa takes note of the moves made by their USA and Canadian counterparts, and though we are exploring the viability of expanding McDonald’s cage-free policy to South Africa, we cannot at this stage, make a similar commitment as the one made by McDonald’s USA and McDonald’s Canada.”
A petition https://www.change.org/mcdonaldssacruelty was then started in March 2016 by a 23-year-old student, Yolanda Guse, who is a member of Beauty without Cruelty SA and has chickens at home as pets.
Compassion In World Farming SA joined forces with the three animal protection organisations in March 2016 and added their voice to the campaign.
Consumers are not impressed and responded “we’re NOT lovin’ it, McDonald’s SA”. Due to the petition’s media attention, McDonald’s South Africa released a statement, stating:
Guse responded: “McDonald’s statement is nothing more than an attempt to delay action against the cruelty in their South African supply chain. Extensive scientific evidence shows that hens in battery cages are frustrated, distressed, and suffering, which is why the company has already adopted cage-free policies in EU, US, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. McDonald’s needs to stop delaying and announce a 100% cage-free policy in South Africa. I’m truly disappointed by McDonald’s South Africa’s statement. Across the globe, including in South Africa, restaurants and supermarkets are moving away from eggs produced by hens confined in cages, proving that cage-free is both viable for businesses and better for the animals. No further investigation is required. McDonald’s South Africa needs to make a cage-free commitment today!”
In May and June 2016 McDonald’s South Africa added insult to injury with their promotion using Angry Birds characters to promote their Happy Meals to young children despite outrage from the South African public on the Company’s cruel treatment of the hens producing eggs for their restaurants.
“The latest McDonalds promotion, Angry Birds Happy Meals, leaves one pondering the mindset of the Company and the people McDonald’s SA employs for this work. The irony of Angry Birds is evidently lost as McDonald’s SA still refuses to commit to making this change. Extensive research shows that the hens suffer psychological stress, bone weakness and breakage, feather loss and disease. Standard factory-farm practices include slicing off parts of their beaks without painkillers, and manipulating their laying cycles by starving them,” says Toni Brockhoven, Beauty Without Cruelty National Chairperson, spokesperson.
Various local influencers have committed to supporting this cause including Miss Earth SA Carla Viktor, Braam Malherbe, Grant Hinds, Liezel van der Westhuizen, Miss Earth SA Organisation and lifestyle and wellness expert, Lisa Raleigh.
Despite more than 17 500 people signing the online petition and additional pressure from the four animal protection groups, media, and local celebrities, McDonald’s South Africa still won’t make a commitment to stop the suffering of their hens and commit to cage-free eggs.
Members of the public who would like to support the cause can join the online petition at https://www.change.org/p/mcdonald-s-south-africa-stop-the-suffering-of-hens-commit-to-cage-free-eggs.
Join the conversation on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/McDonalds-SA-must-go-Cage-Free-225179401168867/?fref=ts) #McDonaldsCruelty
ABOUT BATTERY CAGES:
- A battery cage is a wire box, the size of an A4 paper, where hens spend their lives laying egg after egg for human consumption.
- These hens have no space to do any ordinary activities, such as spreading their wings, nesting, walking or perching. They will most never see the sunlight or take a breath of fresh air.
- Extensive research shows that the hens are frustrated and suffer psychological stress. They also suffer from physical harms, including bone weakness and breakage, feather loss, and diseases.
- To make matters even worse, standard factory-farm practices are inflicted upon them – slicing off parts of their beaks without painkillers and manipulating their laying cycles by starving them.
- Battery cage farms are a living hell for the innocent hens who lay eggs for McDonald’s South Africa.
- 8 billion eggs were produced in South Africa in 2015
- 46 million hens raised for their eggs
- Less than 5% are from cage free/free range facilities
- Research has shown egg production operations that confine hens in cages have higher rates of Salmonella compared to those that are cage free
- McDonald’s SA serves 8 million customers a month http://www.mcdonalds.co.za/mcdonaldssa