VIER PFOTEN welcomes the decision but hopes for quicker phase-out
11. September 2015 – The international animal welfare organisation FOUR PAWS welcomes the announcement of fast-food giant McDonald’s to end its use of eggs from laying hens kept in cages in ten years time in its USA and Canada restaurants.
“This decision could help lead to a major shift, as more farms in the USA and Canada will start working with cage-free keeping, thus fulfill the growing expectations of consumers for animal friendlier products,” said Martina Stephany, Director of the Farm Animals and Nutrition Department at FOUR PAWS. “It would be ideal if McDonald’s is able to complete the full shift to cage-free eggs within less than ten years.”
McDonald’s made this commitment public towards animal friendlier production last Wednesday. Up to 90% of laying hens in both the USA and Canada are still kept in cage-systems.
In Europe, McDonald’s has been 95% cage-free as of 2012 and sources eggs from barn or free-range kept laying hens. A small percentage of ready-made products that McDonald’s procures could still contain cage-eggs.
Globally, more than 60% of eggs are sourced from cage-kept laying hens. Cage-systems are far from being species-appropriate for laying hens. Laying hens spend their entire lives on a wire mesh flooring and on a space so small that it does not exceed an A4-paper.
“Information on the sourcing of the eggs that land on our plates and whether they come from cage or cage-free kept is not always available” says Martina Stephany. “FOUR PAWS demands mandatory labelling of fresh and processed eggs. Consumers can only then have the possibility to decide for animal friendlier products.”
In Europe, a mandatory labelling requirement is only enforced for fresh eggs. In the USA and Canada, mandatory labelling requirements are not in place.