September 14, 2000
Mr. Jack Greenberg, CEO
1 Kroc Drive
Oak Brook, IL 60523-1900
Dear Mr. Greenberg:
Thank you very much for your letter of September 1, 2000, from Sara
Erickson in your Customer Satisfaction Department, in response to my
letter of August 7, 2000, urging you to institute a policy of not
supplying eggs from producers that force molt their birds.
On behalf of our 10,000 members nationwide, I want to take this
opportunity to thank the McDonald's Corporation for setting a
standard for U.S. and global food suppliers and for making it clear
that the treatment of chickens and other animals in the food
production system is an ethical priority.
United Poultry Concerns initiated the campaign to ban forced molting
including our ongoing campaign to get United Egg Producers to
eliminate forced molting. We discovered and brought to light the
scientific studies showing that food deprivation is a primary cause
of Salmonella Enteritidis infection in hens and their eggs. We are
grateful that a decade of intensive effort to eliminate this totally
cruel, disease-producing practice has shown substantive results. We
thank McDonald's for its leadership in producing these results.
We urge McDonald's to set equally firm standards regarding the
debeaking ("beak trimming") of hens used for egg production and for
all birds raised for your company, including turkeys and poultry
parent flocks. Chickens and turkeys have a genetic need to peck-not
to peck each other! These birds peck each other in total confinement
for many documented reasons that have nothing to do with so-called
aggression. Chickens and turkeys are, by nature, foraging animals
whose food-finding behavior and dustbathing behavior involve their
beaks as the primary organ of environmental exploration and bodily
hygiene maintenance. They are driven to peck each other in intensive
confinement because the crowded barren environment completely
frustrates their innate impulses and normal social patterns, driving
them into pathologic situations, including panic manifested as
United Poultry Concerns commends McDonald's for its stated commitment
to continual education of itself and its suppliers relative to animal
welfare issues to ensure that your programs are based on the best
science available. The best science has documented the fact that
starving hens, amputating parts of their highly sensitive beaks, and
densely housing them in barren environments--depriving them of all
natural behavioral outlets--results in extreme suffering, pain, and
distorted behavior in these naturally active and sociable birds.
We take most seriously the promise by McDonald's that the company's
new strong animal welfare policy on behalf of laying hens is a major
first step in bringing about significant advances in poultry welfare
in North America and throughout the world.
United Poultry Concerns will continue to inform our members, the
media, and the public at large of the further steps taken by
McDonald's to bring the poultry and egg industries into compliance
with standards of humane treatment and ethical responsibility towards
all birds and other animals within the food production system.
Thank you for the strong and effective leadership you have shown on
behalf of chickens. We welcome every opportunity to assist you in
ensuring that a significantly improved global treatment of these
birds and other animals is, as a result of your leadership, the way
of the future.
Karen Davis, PhD
United Poultry Concerns. September 14, 2000
United Poultry Concerns, Inc.
PO Box 150
Machipongo, VA 23405-0150
(UPC Letter to McDonald's)