Ignoring an abundance of evidence that caged chickens lead miserable lives of pointless suffering, McDonald’s board of director has recommended that the company’s shareholders vote against a measure requiring the chain to get 5 percent of its eggs from cage-free birds because there just doesn’t seem to be enough science to support such a change in policy.
As the Times’ Green, Inc. blog reports, The McDonald’s proxy statement reads “As we have examined this issue over the years, we have determined that there is no agreement in the global scientific community about how to balance the advantages and disadvantages of laying hen housing systems.”
Well, there does actually seem to be some agreement across one big chunk of the globe: in Europe, the European Union passed a law banning battery cages starting in 2012, which has convinced McDonald’s to use 100 percent cage-free eggs in their European locations by the end of 2010.
But here in the U.S., unburdened by any pesky legal impetus, the fast-food chain is instead to content to make unconvincing noises about its alleged commitment to figuring out what exactly is so awful about life in a 72-square-inch cage.
Last year, it joined the Coalition for Sustainable Egg Supply, a group comprised in part of food companies, research institutions, and non-governmental organizations. The coalition is conducting a commercial-scale study of the advantages and disadvantages of a cage-free versus caged housing system. That study will probably take awhile, giving McDonald’s plenty of time to avoid doing or saying anything of actual substance.
But given McDonald’s track record of ignoring all reasonable evidence that it’s doing anything even remotely objectionable, anywhere, to anybody, none of this should come as much of a surprise. If they don’t care about the welfare of their customers, why should they give a rat’s ass about that of a chicken?