June 27, 2002
Dear McDonalds Shareholder,
On behalf of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, Trillium Asset Management, and caring consumers across the globe, I am writing to ask for your help in convincing McDonalds to internationalize its farmed animal welfare standards.
Although McDonalds has made laudable efforts on behalf of farmed animals in the United States and United Kingdom, it now needs to do the same in other countries. Abuse is abuse, whether it goes on in Sussex or San Salvador, Toronto or Tijuana.
McDonalds animal welfare Guiding Principles state, we buy all our beef, pork and poultry products from suppliers who maintain the highest standards and share McDonalds commitment to animal welfare. Yet McDonalds has very different standards (and often no standards), country-by-country, for its suppliers.
Allow me to offer just two examples:
In the United Kingdom, McDonalds has banned battery cages for hens and gestation crates for mother pigs, using the RSPCA seal of approval and placing advertisements that promote McDonalds for eliminating this abuse of animals. Yet McDonalds has not yet pledged to even phase such abusive confinement systems out anywhere else in the world. McDonalds is supporting this abuse around the globe, and it is abuse McDonalds acknowledges as such. It is worth recalling that only one-twentieth of McDonalds Restaurants are in the United Kingdom.
In the United States, McDonalds requires audits of all cattle, pig, and chicken slaughterhouses, has chicken handling standards, and bans forced molting (starving hens to shock their bodies into another laying cycle). Yet just one country north of the U.S., in Canada, McDonalds has not yet phased in cage space requirements for hens, hasnt banned starving hens to force another laying cycle, and is only auditing cattle slaughter. The companys Canadian animal welfare statement does not indicate plans to do any more than this at any point in the future.
Not long ago, corporations with excellent track records on labor issues in the United States and United Kingdom refused to address the injustices going on in apartheid South Africa. They learned that the public does not want to support injustice anywhere, and that good practices in one country must be mirrored by good practices everywhere.
If McDonalds corporate policy, that humane treatment of animals is an integral part of a world class supplier system, is to have meaning, then the corporation must adopt international farmed animal welfare standards. I am attaching PETA and Trillium Asset Managements analysis of McDonalds statements on global farmed animal welfare. I hope that you will review it and then contact PETAs director of vegan outreach, Bruce Friedrich, to help us push McDonalds to follow the lead of Burger King, Wendys, and Safeway, by adopting international standards for farmed animal welfare.