Welfare at slaughter
The Company has specific expectations to ensure that animals are humanely slaughtered in our global network of approved abattoirs. These expectations are based on objective measurement systems that are aligned with recognized national and international standards such as the North American Meat Institute and the World Organization for Animal Health. The abattoirs on our approved supplier list are required to meet these welfare standards, which are independently audited annually to ensure compliance.
For more than two decades, we have worked with others in the industry and respected experts, such as Dr. Temple Grandin, to better understand and improve performance on issues associated with animal welfare at slaughter. We continue to monitor progress and identify opportunities for improvement.
Housing promoting animal health and welfare
Housing is critical to ensuring farm animal well-being and providing environments that are beneficial for overall health. In the U.S., we’re working with pork suppliers to phase out the use of gestation stalls (small enclosed pens) for housing pregnant sows by 2022. By 2017, McDonald's will source pork for its U.S. business only from producers who share our commitment to phase out gestation stalls.
Across our Europe region,3 100% of our pork is already sourced from farms that do not use gestation crates. In the U.K. and the Netherlands, we use 100% Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) Assured pork, which means that all pig farmers are required to provide bright, airy environments for pigs, bedded pens and plenty of space for them to move around.
Similarly, 100% of the chickens used for meat in our global supply chain are reared only in cage-free systems. We do not accept any chickens raised in caged housing, inclusive of stacked or patio systems.
We expect all our raw material suppliers to minimize animal transport times to reduce the animals’ stress. We stipulate that the meat in our global supply chain must be from livestock that was not shipped for more than 24 hours by sea, and sent directly to slaughter, without prior exception having been made to this policy by the Company’s Quality Systems team.
We also aim to monitor and minimize pre-slaughter transport times in our supply chain, in line with expert animal welfare guidance. In Europe, a third-party audit system ensures transport times are no more than eight hours. In 2016, audits covered approximately 26% of global chicken volumes, 31% of global beef volumes and 16% of global pork volumes.
Raising the bar on chicken welfare
In October 2017, the Company announced a global commitment to source chickens raised with improved welfare outcomes. We’re committing to increased welfare outcomes for chicken sourced for sale in McDonald’s restaurants, through:
- Measuring key farm-level welfare outcomes on an ongoing basis, setting targets, and reporting on progress across our largest markets.
- Developing state-of-the art welfare measurement technology.
- Providing enrichments to support natural behavior.
- Running commercial trials to study the effects of certain production parameters on welfare outcomes.
- Implementing third-party auditing.
- Transitioning stunning methods in the U.S. and Canada.
- Establishing McDonald’s Advisory Council for Chicken Sustainability to support our continued journey on chicken sustainability.
- Complete an assessment by the end of 2018 to measure the feasibility of extending these commitments to the remaining global markets where McDonald’s operates.
These commitments will impact more than 70% of our global chicken supply and will be fully implemented on or before 2024.