McDonald’s Demands Humane Facilities For McRib Producers

Following in the footsteps of animal rights groups and a complaint filed by the Humane Society McDonald’s on Monday asked meat producers to come up with a more humane method for raising the hogs used to create the company’s popular McRib product.

Hogs in the United States are often manufactured in gestation crates which are so small that adult female hogs are not even able to turn around. Spending their entire lives inside their tiny pens before they’re slaughtered McDonald’s now believes that the pens are “not a sustainable production system.”

The move is likely to set off a huge change in the overall industry where McDonald’s is responsible for 1% of all pork purchases in the United States. Because of the company’s huge supply demands it’s likely pork producers working with McDonald’s or hoping to work with the company will abandon gestational crates for a more humane solution.

As Mark Bittman at the New York Times points out suppliers will need to change their practices “because in the world of big-time meat supply, there are two kinds of producers: those who sell to McDonald’s and those wish they could.

McDonald’s has already asked that caged hens be given 72 square inches of space instead of the 48 inches they had previously received. 72 inches is now the industry standard size for hen pens.

While animal rights groups are likely happy about the company’s initiative it will be interesting to see how suppliers react, after all an additional 24 inches inside a hog crate would hardly be enough to get excited about.

Do you think McDonald’s is moving in the right direction?

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