Please write to the CEOs [Corporate Executive Officers] of every
restaurant and supermarket you can urging them to follow McDonald's'
lead - better yet, surpass it. Tell them that their decision will
influence your decision whether to shop or eat there. Once you draft
your letter (keep it to a single page), you can use it repeatedly -
only be sure that you send each letter as a freshly signed original,
changing the heading and salutation for each company executive you
write to. Please send company replies to United Poultry Concerns.
Please make copies of the questionnaire: TO THE SUPPLIERS OF EGGS &
EGG PRODUCTS) and
include it with your letter to each CEO. Below are the addresses of
several major food corporations and their CEOs. Ask your local
supermarkets, grocery stores, and restaurants for headquarter
addresses not listed here. Thank you! Our work is making the
On behalf of our 10,000 members nationwide, I am writing to urge you
to set policies that promote significantly improved welfare standards
for the birds owned by your suppliers. As you know, the McDonald's
Corporation recently set standards for its suppliers of eggs, making
it clear that the treatment of chickens and other animals in the food
production system is an ethical priority. We urge you to set equal
and superior standards and to advise us of your intentions as soon as
We urge you to match McDonald's demand of its suppliers that they
stop the cruel practice of depriving laying hens and parent flocks of
all food to manipulate production. The practice, known as forced
molting, is a welfare abuse so severe that it impairs the birds'
immune systems making them pathologically susceptible to Salmonella
Enteritidis infections in their reproductive tracts where their eggs
are formed. Forced molting is not the same as natural molting.
Natural molting-the ongoing shedding and replacement of feathers in
birds-is a biological function designed to maintain good plumage and
feather structure at all times. At no time do naturally molting birds
starve themselves for days and weeks, nor do they develop
transmittable diseases like Salmonella as do hens being force molted
by means of food deprivation.
We urge you to match and surpass McDonald's by setting firm standards
prohibiting the debeaking ("beak trimming") of hens and all birds
raised for your company including poultry parent flocks. Chickens,
turkeys, and ducks have nerve endings to the very tip of the beak,
because the beak (or bill) is their main organ for foraging (food
gathering) and for exploring their environment. "Beak trimming" is
not like cutting your fingernails: it is like tearing your
fingernails out from the root, only worse, because the birds have to
eat with this mutilated beak which also impairs their ability to
preen, that is, to perform bodily hygiene.
Chickens and turkeys have a genetic need to peck-not to peck each
other. If these birds peck at each other it is because the crowded
barren environment completely frustrates their innate impulses and
normal social patterns driving them to pathologic behavior, including
panic manifested as abnormal pecking. We urge you to require a
no-debeaking-no "beak trimming"-practice of your suppliers of eggs
and poultry, including the parent flocks of chickens, turkeys, and
ducks owned by your suppliers.
Please match and surpass McDonald's by setting firm welfare standards
regarding the living space and environment provided for each bird and
for all birds owned by your suppliers including a policy that ducks
must at all times have water sufficient to immerse their heads in
fully for the health of their eyes and for their overall wellbeing.
McDonald's has told its egg suppliers that each laying hen must now
have 72 square inches of space instead of the standard 48. While 72
square inches is not even close to the amount of space that a chicken
needs, and cages are unacceptable, McDonald's space requirement is an
acknowledgement that a chicken's living space matters. Please
encourage your suppliers to introduce noncage systems for their
birds. A Swiss government sponsored "Survey of laying hen husbandry
in Switzerland," where cages have been banned, shows egg production
in aviary systems to be comparable to that of cages, and that
provision of appropriate foraging and dustbathing material for
chickens decreases feather pecking, because the birds have
occupations suited to their needs.
I look forward to an encouraging response from you to share with our
nationwide membership. I will be happy to provide you with further
information upon your request. Thank you for your attention to this
Karen Davis, PhD