United Poultry Concerns September 14, 2000
UPC Letter to McDonald's

September 14, 2000

Mr. Jack Greenberg, CEO
McDonald's Corporation
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 abnormal pecking.

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

Other Info:

United Poultry Concerns. September 14, 2000

United Poultry Concerns, Inc.
PO Box 150
Machipongo, VA 23405-0150
FAX: 757-678-5070

(UPC Letter to McDonald's)