Undercover Investigation Exposes Shocking Animal Cruelty at McDonald's Egg Supplier

Hidden-Camera Footage Reveals Birds Being Thrown, Mutilated, and Intensively Confined - Animal Rights Group Urges Oak Brook-Based Fast Food Giant to Adopt Stricter Animal Welfare Policies

Nov 18, 2011, 11:44 ET from Mercy For Animals

CHICAGO, Nov. 18, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Animal rights advocates are crying foul over the way Oak Brook-based McDonald's treats the hens used to produce its Egg McMuffins. Shocking hidden-camera video exposing startling animal abuse at a McDonald's egg supplier was released today at news conferences by the animal protection organization Mercy For Animals. The video reveals hens crammed in cages so small they can't fully stretch their wings, dead birds left to rot in cages with hens still laying eggs for human consumption, and workers throwing hens, breaking their necks, and burning off their beaks without painkillers.

The organization is urging McDonald's' CEO to implement a new animal welfare policy prohibiting the sale of eggs from hens confined in cruel cages – something the company has already done in Europe.

The undercover footage recorded at Sparboe Egg Farms in Iowa, Minnesota, and Colorado reveals:

  • Hens crammed into filthy wire cages with less space for each bird than a standard-sized sheet of paper to live her entire miserable life, unable to fully stretch her wings, or engage in most other natural behaviors
  • Workers burning off the beaks of young chicks without any painkillers
  • Rotted hens, decomposed beyond recognition as birds, left in cages with hens still laying eggs for human consumption
  • A worker tormenting a bird by swinging her around in the air while her legs were caught in a grabbing device
  • Chicks trapped and mangled in cage wire – others suffering from open wounds and torn beaks
  • Live chicks thrown into plastic bags to be suffocated

"In my opinion, the treatment of the birds at this facility is unconscionable," veterinarian Dr. Lee Schrader said after viewing the footage. "The unnecessary violence, unskilled killing, and especially the extreme confinement and deprivation of the most minimal and basic needs of the hens cannot be allowed to continue."

Confining hens in battery cages is so cruel that the entire European Union and the states of California and Michigan have banned their use. Additionally, leading food retailers, such as Whole Foods, Hellmann's, and Wolfgang Puck, and hundreds of colleges refuse to use or sell eggs from hens subjected to the inherent abuses of battery cages.

"McDonald's' secret ingredient in every Egg McMuffin is horrific cruelty to animals," said MFA's Executive Director Nathan Runkle. "Consumers would lose their lunch if they saw how McDonald's' rotten egg suppliers crammed hens into tiny, filthy cages where they couldn't freely spread their wings, burned off their beaks without painkillers, threw them, and broke their necks."

Broadcast quality footage from the investigation is available by request. Video is online at McDonaldsCruelty.com.

About Mercy For Animals (MFA)

Mercy For Animals is a national 501(c)(3) non-profit animal advocacy organization. Founded in 1999 and over 60,000 members and supporters strong, MFA works to create a society in which animals are treated with the respect and compassion they rightly deserve. Over 99 percent of cruelty to animals in the U.S. occurs in the meat, dairy, and egg industries, which confine, mutilate, and slaughter 9 billion-plus land animals each year. Accordingly, MFA primarily focuses on farmed animal advocacy and promoting cruelty-free food choices, consumer education campaigns, research and undercover investigations, rescues, and grassroots activism. Its recent investigations have revealed abuse of cows and calves at dairy farms, shocking conditions in veal farms, suffering of live fish in an aquaculture facility, and cruelty to egg-laying hens, newborn chicks, sows and piglets. MFA's work exposing animal abuse in the nation's factory farms, slaughterhouses and hatcheries has triggered international outcry, as well as legislative and criminal justice victories on behalf of animals. The organization is headquartered in Chicago, IL. For more information, see www.mercyforanimals.org.

SOURCE Mercy For Animals