McDonalds Needs to Transition to a Just & Sustainable Plant-Based Supply Chain by 2025
What’s the Beef?
Have we got beef with McDonald’s? Hell yeah we do!
British fast food restaurants and grocery chains, including McDonald’s, buy their chicken from Cargill, which feeds its poultry with imported soy, much of it apparently coming from the Bolivian Amazon and Brazilian Cerrado — areas rapidly being deforested for new soy plantations. Over a decade ago, soy traders agreed to stop buying soy from the Brazilian Amazon following severe pressure from activists, consumers and retailers. However, in the wake of this agreement global soy traders simply shifted their sights to nearby areas where deforestation is now rife in the Bolivian Amazon and Brazilian savanna.
Furthermore, McDonald’s beef suppliers Marfrig, a Brazilian meat company, buys cattle from a farm using deforested land in a part of the Amazon currently ravaged by forest fires. One of the key causes of those fires is farmers clearing land for eventual beef pasture.
Mongabay and The Bureau Investigates
McDonald’s workers have historically protested against poor pay and treatment including “systemic sexual harassment.”“McDonald’s workers everywhere face poverty pay, insecure hours and a lack of basic respect.” – McDonald’s Worker quoted here and here.
Constant reports of animal cruelty on McDonald’s chicken, pig, beef, dairy and egg farms and in their slaughterhouses appear in the media.
In 2020, Animal Equality released images and footage of distressing scenes on UK chicken farms. Chickens are deprived of water, hundreds suffer agonizing deaths each day as workers painfully crush the chicken’s necks in their hands; others devellop raw skin burns on their feet and chests from filthy, urine-soaked floors; chickens are bred to grow so big, so quickly, that they suffer from excruciating leg injuries and are unable to carry the weight of their own oversized bodies; they are crammed into immensely overcrowded barns, barely able to move or stretch their wings. Footage from a McDonald’s beef supplier of a slaughterhouse run by the global food provider OSI Group shows workers repeatedly fail to stun cows, even after administering numerous electric shots to their heads. When they won’t budge in the kill line, employees shock them excessively with electric prods. Still very much alive and conscious, the cows in the video are seen chained upside down and flailing about after their throats were slit. Animal Equality, PETA, Huffington Post, Mercy for Animals
In 2019, Animal Agriculture industry was criticised for being one of “the world’s highest-emitting sectors without a low-carbon plan.” McDonald’s claims that it is the “first company in the world to address global climate change” however their plan fails to address the 1.6 billion pounds of beef that they disclosed as their global usage per year in 2016. Given that this figure is from 5 years ago, the actual amount of beef is only likely to have risen, which is supported by multiple sources from 2019-2020 which put the figure at 1 billion pounds per year in the US alone. Given that animal farming is widely recognised as one of the leading causes of the climate crisis, we’re calling bullshit on McDonald’s sustainability.
McDonalds mass exploitation of animals increases the risk of future zoonotic diseases and pandemic. 2020 shows more proof that the kind of intensive farming companies like McDonald’s rely on is both “vulnerable to pandemics and guilty of creating them”. Read more here and here. Read about Covid outbreaks at McDonald’s suppliers here. Fast food is one of the most visible and pervasive representations of the destructive nature of our food system. With a host of crosses against their name, including Animal suffering, Amazon deforestation, exploitation of workers, climate destruction and human health crises, McDonald’s represents the top of the fast-food hierarchy, a Goliath that needs to see that it’s choices are no longer in line the values and needs of the people it serves.
This campaign strikes at the heart of a food industry we all know could be a heck of a lot better. It’s a campaign about community and family as we stand together and push for a food system which we can actually say we’re lovin’.
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