The Congregation of Benedictine Sisters of Boerne, Texas, members of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility, and a McDonald’s shareholder, is calling on the fast food chain to make removing antibiotics from its supply chain a priority.
While McDonald’s has already begun to source antibiotic-free chicken for products served in the U.S., the shareholder group says the chain needs to make the same commitment to all of its animal products—not just in the U.S., but across the planet—in order to help reduce the antibiotic resistant epidemic.
According to Reuters, more than 20 percent of McDonald’s shareholders recently voted similarly in another proposal. And the Sisters are hopeful that their proposal will be voted on in 2017.
“More than 70 percent of medically important antibiotics in the United States are sold for livestock use,” reports Reuters. “Scientists have warned that the routine use of antibiotics to promote growth and prevent illness in healthy farms animals contributes to the rise of dangerous, antibiotic-resistant ‘superbug’ infections, which kill at least 23,000 Americans each year and pose a significant threat to global health.”
The World Health Organization continues to urge world leaders to take antibiotic resistance seriously and to find ways to remove them from the food supply in order to protect people from antibiotic-resistant infections.
McDonald's told Reuters it continues "to engage with key experts, including some who serve as advisors to the World Health Organization (WHO), to advance progress across the industry."
According to McDonald’s, under current policies, it works with suppliers in providing guidance and systems to help ensure antibiotic-free compliance.
Antibiotics are routinely given to livestock animals as a preventative against diseases and infections common in dense factory farms. But they’re also given because they increase animal size and weight in a short period of time, allowing producers to push animals to market more quickly, thus increasing profits.
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