Celebrities Urge McDonald’s to Improve Animal Welfare for Chickens

Celebrities Urge McDonald's to Improve Animal Welfare for Chickens
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McDonald’s needs to up its animal welfare standards for chickens, according to 20 celebrities writing the fast-food chain earlier this week on behalf of the Humane Society of the United States.

The celebrities, which include Alec Baldwin, Susan Sarandon, Kristen Bell, Joaquin Phoenix, John C. Reilly, and Dr. Oz, urged McDonald’s CEO Steve Easterbrook to make improvements to its chicken supply chain and treatment of the birds.

“McDonald’s lets its chicken suppliers breed birds to grow so large, so fast it’d be like a two-month-old human baby weighing over 600 pounds,” the letter noted. “This causes all kinds of problems for these animals—like broken legs, painful injuries, and even heart attacks.”

HSUS enlisted the support of the stars in its ongoing “Unhappy Meals” campaign that launched earlier this year. The nonprofit released a television ad in Chicago, which has encouraged more than 10,000 customers to call the fast-food giant over its animal welfare policies, HSUS said.

But despite the calls and letters, the organization says McDonald’s has yet to make “meaningful progress” in its policies. This lack of progress will extend the campaign indefinitely, HSUS said.

“Chickens are smart, inquisitive animals who suffer immensely during their short lives as a result of these inhumane practices,” the letter noted.

“There is a better way. Your own competitors—like Burger King, Subway, Jack in the Box and so many more—are taking meaningful steps to improve conditions for these animals. We urge you to follow their lead and implement the modest reforms being encouraged by The Humane Society of the United States and other animal protection organizations.”

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Jill Ettinger

Jill Ettinger is a Los Angeles-based journalist and editor focused on the global food system and how it intersects with our cultural traditions, diet preferences, health, and politics. She is the senior editor for sister websites OrganicAuthority.com and EcoSalon.com, and works as a research associate and editor with the Cornucopia Institute, the organic industry watchdog group. Jill has been featured in The Huffington Post, MTV, Reality Sandwich, and Eat Drink Better. www.jillettinger.com.