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As McDonald's Signals Major Shift, A Reminder That 'Cage-Free' Does Not Equal 'Cruelty-Free'


As McDonald's Signals Major Shift, A Reminder That 'Cage-Free' Does Not Equal 'Cruelty-Free'

Jon Queally, staff writer

Animal welfare advocates on Wednesday are calling the announcement by the McDonald's Corporation to have a cage-free supply chain for its eggs within ten years as a "watershed moment" for the U.S. and Canadian food systems and a victory for those who have campaigned tirelessly against the fast-food behemoth whose business model historically rests on the industrial-scale abuse of chickens, cows, and other animals.


'Cage-Free' > 'Caged'

When your species is, globally, a major food source for the planet's top predator, the notion of 'cruelty' seems vague.


Within ten years, why so long? WTF


The notion of "cruelty" is indeed vague. This is high-volume, industrial agriculture. Transnational companies try very hard to focus on a "homey" image of the products, in terms of production, processing, and consumption, but jeepers, this is 2015, and the "units" number in the billions! Cruelty was never, really, in the formula. If fast food companies really wanted to be "cruelty free", their human workers would have to be paid living wages, and get longer breaks; not just be nice to the animals they slaughter. The eggs, chickens, cows, pigs, and fish, as well as the people who produce, process, transport, and prepare them, are cogs on a huge, fast-spinning wheel. The only way to minimize, even slightly, the cruelty involved, would be to grow and process locally. Can't do that on an industrial basis, though. To claim "cage/cruelty free" is just pandering to consumers.


PR voice of McDonald's:
"Our customers are increasingly interested in knowing more about their food and where it comes from," Andres said. The decision, he added, is an attempt to "meet and exceed our customers’ expectations."

Yes they are HAPPY to keep it in the realm of "consumer choice," and to move at a glacial pace to marginally reduce the cruelty at the heart of the industrial food system.

They are terrified of a democratic food system, in which we decide together through debate what kinds of cruelties are unacceptable. They prefer the "free" market. But we need a democratic food system, and a democratic economy, and to do that we need to FUNDAMENTALLY DISEMPOWER the rampant corporations that claim to own the stuff of life.

All these "great victories" are far-too-weak ameliorative, stalling, and palliative tactics, while the great train of industrial civilization thunders toward a wall of granite. We need to think in terms of "radical" (to the root) "fundamental" (at the base) transformation of the structure of economic power.

Very seriously, "limited liability" corporations operating in the "free" market must go. We need an entirely different "operating system" for economic activity.

(Funny how "radical" has been demonized, but "fundamental" has not. Their root meanings are similar.)


Giving a little thought to the repercussions of this move--to provide cage free, antibiotic free eggs and meat--I can forsee a bigger nightmare in the future for the hapless animals in the corporate factory system. Cage free means they don't have to provide anything but a large space to pile even more animals, closer together. Win for them. They save money on cages. Antibiotic free means they don't have to pay for drugs for animals--just let them sit in their respective piles till slaughter. If they get sick, who cares? Just include them with the rest of our future tainted meat products.

There is only one way to stop cruelty to animals. Go local, small batch, community raised animals. We might also consider, for those who still eat meat, decreasing drastically the amount of meat protein consumed.

Industrialization has destroyed our planet.


[quote="smipypr, post:4, topic:12967"]
"This is high-volume, industrial agriculture. Transnational companies try very hard to focus on a "homey" image of the products, in terms of production, processing, and consumption,..."

Totally correct! Neither animals nor crops were meant to be raised or cultivated on such a vast scale, the problem is not only with their methods, it is with the demands of the system(s) they supply which are cages themselves in which much cruelty is committed against both their customers and employees in the name of profit$,.


While I would rather not have McDonald's at all, maybe they can be the leader in positive food supply... by encouraging local farm sourcing and price floors. There simply must be a technology solution to get small independent farm products to central markets in large scale. Also, a price floor (or minimum wage for farmers) would allow for diversification, which would mean less chicken crowding. Bottom(s)-up! Yes :smile: and also, I hope "chickens, cows, and other animals" meant pigs....


What? Only one way to stop animal cruelty? And that one way is to slaughter them locally? Ever heard of a vegetarian? We are the ones who know the one way to stop animal cruelty. Your "only one way" is mind-blowing in its blindness.


So....why did you pick the ONE thing I said that was questionable? Ok, so I should have said: "One" way, not the "only" way.

You and I both know that vegetarianism will not become a global practice unless every single animal on the planet is gone. People will eat meat. I advocate for eating less of it, and practicing local farming again. And I'm not blind. Are you? It's great that you chose to be a vegetarian, but that is your choice. Others have the right to choose their own path. Perhaps you see the time in the future where meat eating will be a crime? Punish those by, what? Death? Incarceration? Brain alteration? Living in cages? So much for "zen practice."

And btw....I am one of those people who eat small amounts of meat--mostly chicken and fish--and only 3-4 times a week. I'm aiming for even less, and who knows, I may actually choose to be a vegetarian myself. I'm working on it.


Typical for reformist groups

Articulate an artificial and inadequate standard

Declare victory when it's met

Then kiss the pisser of the corps that sacrificed next to nothing to do so.


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OK this is how we raised our chickens on the farm. They had a chicken coop out near the barns. At 6 AM we opened the door and the chickens could roam anywhere.

We had a trough where we fed them what we called mush( milk mixed with rooled oats) but they were free to hunt the barnyards for whatever suited their fancy.

At night they found their way back to the coop , jumped up on a roost and slept. We closed the coop.

Inside the coop were troughs halfway up the wall with straw. They laid their eggs there and we gathered what was needed. Some were left and were hatched and mother hen would lead her chicks out for feeding each morning. Mother hen would than lead her chicks into a different coop for the night sometimes with encouragement as the chicks were safer there. Once she was herded there for a few nights in a row she would find her own way.

It was pretty simple.


But how you gonna manage 18,000 laying hens that way? Industrial ecocide is way more "efficient" (at extracting cash profit) than your quaint system. Plus who wants to be involved with food production for the community? i mean, what could be lowlier than producing food for all to eat? Ewww, there's dirt involved, and chickens smell funny. Grubs in the yard indeed! And everyone is so well-adjusted nowadays to their corporate jobs and McJobs and no jobs, no one's going back to the farm, who wants to get smelly? Well at least we have our smartphone apps and music streaming services... hey what's for dinner? What's new on Netflix? Life is so much better in post-modern megapolis...


The suffering the birds endure is my only concern. The fact that eggs contain 200+ milligrams of cholesterol and contribute to heart disease and other acidic protein related diseases in secondary. The boon to vaccine companies who make a killing off avian bird flu's from this and the poultry industry is secondary.
What sickens me is that eggs are an unnecessary evil in so many ways.
The media refuses to tell people about devices called macerators, a machine that grinds up LIVE infant male chicks as they ( like male calves who suffer horrifically because humans nurse on THEIR infant formula)of no use in the egg industry. We refuse to SEE the vile way the birds beaks are seared off as babies, with hot blades, to avert causing harm with their natural inclination to peck . It's just a nasty, horrible, cruel, unhealthy concept of food and our own USDA is using it's will to keep it solvent. VEGG is available and this corporation should use it. It tastes like eggs, but it is plant based do on every level, it's better. See the truth inside the egg and poultry industry. It's perverted what is done to these sentient beings. The public health and environmental issues loom large as well. McDonalds is NO hero for being concerned about their image as they loose market shares, close locations, because people Do care about animals and are stopping their consumption of them. See ALL investigations at Mercy For Animals and Compassion Over Killing.