United Poultry Concerns November 8, 2000
Tell Food Companies to Treat Chickens Better

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 difference!

See for more information on the McDonald's Decision.

UPC's letter of October 26th to was sent to each of the following food companies

Dear _________:

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 possible.

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 matter.

Karen Davis, PhD

United Poultry Concerns. November 8, 2000

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

(Tell Food Companies to Treat Chickens Better)