We recognize that how live animals (beef, pork and chicken) in our supply chain are transported is important. As such, we work with local industry and regulatory authority on live animal transport programs such as those found in Canada, Australia and the E.U., focused on limiting transport time, or when transport times exceed local regulatory guidance, provide feed, water, and rest, as determined best practice. Where legislated (such as in the E.U.), transport time requirements must be met.
No beef may come from cattle that were shipped for more than 24 hours by sea and sent directly to slaughter. Shipment by sea for the purpose of relocating animals (Tasmania to Australia) or for establishing/expanding herd population (Russia from the U.S.) will be reviewed for exception on a case-by-case basis by McDonald’s Global Supply Chain & Sustainability teams. Without prior approval, all beef from such cattle is prohibited from entering the McDonald’s supply chain.
We also aim to minimize pre-slaughter transport times in our supply chain, in line with expert animal welfare guidance. In Europe, transport times for beef and pork are by law required to be under eight hours*. In 2017, this accounted for approximately 30% of global beef volumes and 15% of global pork volumes.
Beef, chicken, and pork suppliers are strongly encouraged to minimize transport times, reducing animal stress. In all cases, company specific animal welfare programs should seek to minimize animal transport times as much as possible.
*Except in rare, non-routine exceptions that are fully defined in our policy and grounded in the best-interest of the animals.
Welfare at slaughter
The Company has specific expectations to ensure that animals are humanely slaughtered in the approved slaughterhouses within our global supply chain. These expectations are defined in species specific standards and audit criteria and verified through independent audits at these approved slaughterhouses of specific key welfare indicators. These key welfare indicators (KWIs) are objective measurement systems are aligned with recognized national and international standards such as the North American Meat Institute and the World Organization for Animal Health. Slaughterhouses on our approved supplier list are required to meet these welfare standards, which are independently audited annually to ensure compliance.
Stunning animals to assure insensibility prior to slaughter is a critical animal welfare requirement for McDonald’s. Failure to meet McDonald’s Stun Efficacy requirements will results in immediate de-listment from the Company’s approved supply list. Regardless of stun method, any sensible animal observed on the bleed rail constitutes an automatic audit failure. We estimate that more than 95% of chicken and beef volumes in our system are stunned prior to slaughter. The exception being those markets that do not allow stunning prior to slaughter for religious or ritual reasons.
As a global company, we comply with religious slaughter requirements including Halal and Kosher, when required by our customers. For animals subject to religious slaughter, McDonald’s religious Animal Health and Welfare standards are strictly observed.
For more than two decades, we have worked with 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 remain steadfast in our commitment to improving the health and welfare of animals in our supply chain throughout their lives, and we continue to monitor progress and identify opportunities to improve.
How we stay on track
We have specific expectations to ensure animals are humanely slaughtered in our global network of approved abattoirs. The abattoirs on our approved supplier list are required to meet these welfare standards, which are independently audited annually to ensure compliance. 100% of the suppliers listed on our approved supplier list that provide the McDonald’s System with beef, chicken and pork raw materials are compliant with the Company’s requirements. If an approved abattoir fails an audit, it will be immediately suspended from our approved supplier list and shipment of raw material from that facility will cease. In the spirit of continuous improvement, we will work with suppliers to improve their practices and help them develop robust and sustainable corrective action plans, after which they can be re-audited by an independent third-party audit for compliance and re-approved if the noncompliance was addressed. In the case of repeated failed audits, the abattoir will be removed from our approved supplier list.
Our animal health and welfare expectations, along with all other global sustainable sourcing expectations, for all suppliers are outlined in our Global Sustainable Sourcing Guide. Our global and market Quality Systems teams are in frequent contact with our suppliers, reviewing supplier performance to ensure policies are properly implemented and consistently met.
We have also aligned with the National Milk Producers Federation’s Farmers Assuring Responsible Management (FARM) program in the U.S. As of September 2018, all U.S. dairy suppliers have been tracking the percentage of the farms in their supply chain that have completed the FARM 2nd party assessment. McDonald’s U.S. is on track to achieve its 2020 commitment for all U.S. dairy product suppliers to be able to demonstrate that 100% of farms in their supply chain participate in FARM and have completed the 2nd party assessment.