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McDonald's McCruelty - Where Does Our Fast Food Really Come From?

Updated on February 8, 2014

McDonald’s fast food chain has become a giant in the fast food industry,serving up their burgers, fries and nuggets to people all around the world for fairly low prices. But does the company itself really stand for? Over the past several years, the fast-food giant has come under fire among many animal rights groups for its irresponsibility in choosing in meat suppliers.

Many of the company's meat suppliers have recently been found guilty in courts and in the public eye of committing acts of extreme animal cruelty. Now McDonalds is having a difficult time cleaning up the PR mess left in the wake of these new revelations.

I Am Not A Nugget!
I Am Not A Nugget! | Source

Standards For Slaughter

Many of the American and Canadian slaughterhouses who are the suppliers of chicken meat to North American McDonalds, are accused of using extreme cruelty towards the animals before the slaughter. According to PETA, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, many slaughterhouse employees severely harm and torture the animals in several ways, such as dumping the birds out of their crates as if they were simply dried goods, and often hanging them by their feet in metal chains as a way of 'storing' them, which often results in broken bones and serious pain for the animals long before they are put to death.

Practically all of McDonald's U.S. chicken suppliers use a system to kill the birds called "electrical immobilization,", which involves the above-mentioned process of hanging the chickens upside down and using electricity to shock them - although this often does not fully kill the animals. More often than not, it simply tortures and 'immobilizes' them. Investigators into this atrocity have found that, after they are hung upside down, the birds then have their throats cut while they are still conscious and are often immersed in tanks of scalding-hot water while they are often still alive and able to feel pain.

There are less-cruel methods of animal slaughter, particularly for chickens, called “Controlled atmosphere killing.” This method entails slowly removing oxygen from the chambers while the poultry are still in their cages, and replacing it with a non-lethal gas. While this may sound cruel as well, the fact is that this gas actually slowly puts the birds to rest, and they die relatively peacefully in their sleep. While this method of slaughter has been around for many years, is relatively inexpensive and is currently used by hundreds of slaughterhouses across North America, McDonald’s corporation refuses to require that its suppliers use this method. Using this method also ensures a safer and healthier environment for slaughterhouse workers, who are often exposed to harsh toxins and dangerous equipment while using old-fashioned methods of slaughter.

A History of Cruelty

In 1999, PETA brought charges against McDonald’s under the McCruelty campaign, and brought light to the fact that McDonald’s was using inhumane methods of raising and slaughtering their animals. After this highly publicized campaign, McDonald’s changed many of its practices and suppliers to more animal-friendly ones. This marked the first time in history that a major corporation agreed to change its policy regarding farmed-animal welfare. However, PETA reissued in McCruelty campaign in 2011, due to the fact that since 2000, the company has done nothing to further eradicate animal cruelty from its suppliers.

McDonald’s also recently came under fire from the press after a shocking video was released showing the cruel practices used by McDonald’s main suppliers of eggs. The video shows the chicken handlers breaking the beaks of baby chicks, shoving chickens into their pockets, and torturing the animals for entertainment. The video also showed the inhumane conditions in which the egg-laying hens are forced to live (and die) while constantly producing eggs for human consumption. After this video went viral, McDonald’s PR people went to work ensuring that they would immediately drop this supplier, but did not confirm whether or not they would enforce more stringent regulations in the future.

For Some, It's A Very Un-Happy Meal
For Some, It's A Very Un-Happy Meal | Source

A Daunting Task: Fighting the Major Corporation

McDonald’s is one of the most famous and successful fast-food chains in the world, and has branches and businesses in countries across the globe. It is terrifying to think that such a large company would be so apathetic as to where its meat has come from. As a global corporate giant, McDonald’s should have a sense of responsibility to ensure that the animals that provide the main products sold are treated at least humanely, and act as an example for other companies to follow. However, as McDonald’s is currently the world’s largest user of beef and one of the top 5 users of chicken globally, it is a daunting task to try to change such a major corporation.


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