Rearing and Slaughter of Animals
McDonald's through subsidiaries, franchisees and suppliers, is responsible
for the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of cattle, chicken and pigs every
year. It is the Defendants' case that the methods of slaughter used are
cruel and that the slaughter itself is unnecessary. It is also the Defendants
case that the rearing of those cattle, chicken and pigs involves unnecessary
cruelty and suffering. Further that some of the beef used by the Plaintiffs comes from old dairy cows and the dairy industry involves a great deal of suffering for cows.
According to McDonald's own publicity, it is the world's largest user of beef.
In the early 1970's McDonald's advertising agents Cooper & Golin stated that an area the size of Greater London would be required to accommodate all the cattle, standing flank to flank, that had gone into making the 12 billion burgers so far sold.
In 1992 in the USA, one of McDonald's suppliers, Otto & Sons, was supplied by ConAgra's Monfort plant in Grand Island, Nebraska. At this plant, cattle were taken from trucks and put in a holding pen outside the plant. They were then directed by electric prods into chutes. They were then shot with stun guns and hung upside down by their hooves until their throats were cut.
McDonald's suppliers, McKey food services, are supplied with beef from amongst others ABP Ltd, Wellingborough. ABP Ltd use the captive bolt pistol to stun cattle prior to slaughter. Through their solicitors McDonald's have stated that they consider the use of the captive-bolt pistol to be a cruel practice.
On 2nd February 1990, on the instructions of the 2nd plaintiff, McDonald's solicitors sent a letter to the Bournemouth Advertiser threatening legal proceedings for defamation. The letter demanded that the newspaper publish an apology for an article concerning McDonald's and the slaughter of animals that appeared in the newspaper on the 12th October l989, and demanded that the newspaper pay the plaintiff's costs. The letter stated ...`You publish the remarks of Malcolm Venn of Animal Aid, citing a consultants report. Not only is such a quotation obviously highly selective, but also it in no way establishes that McDonald's approve the captive-bolt method cited. The article clearly implies that McDonald's can be associated with this or other similarly cruel practices.' The purpose and/or effect of this letter was to deceive the Bournemouth Advertiser into believing that McDonald's suppliers did not use the captive bolt pistol for stunning and as a result the newspaper printed an apology.
McDonald's purported policy of not accepting beef originating from cattle subjected to growth promoters is not adhered to. In July 1993 McDonald's admitted they accepted beef from cattle which had been given growth promoting antibiotics such as Virginia, Mycin and Avo parcin.
Accordingly to its own publicity material McDonald's is the second largest user of chickens in the world. Over 90 million chickens are raised in the UK each year to produce Chicken McNuggets and McChicken sandwiches.
In 1984 McDonald's entered into a partnership with Sun Valley poultry and helped them to introduce new methods to their farming.
Antibiotics are routinely used at Sun Valley poultry in an attempt to prevent severe lameness In broiler chickens.
In the USA, in or around 1980, In order to supply enough chicken for McDonald's demands, Tysons developed an entirely new breed of chicken which it called `Mr. McDonald' . The chicken was specifically designed to increase the efficiency of the nugget-making process and was nearly twice as large as the standard supermarket broiler.
In June - November 1982, a USDA official inspection report (USDA P7100) of one of Tysons 13 processing plants, its main one in Nashville, Arkansas, found numerous examples of unsanitary conditions. Similar problems were reported at other Tysons plants springdale (P481), North Little Rock (P746), springhill (P7051), cumming (P243) and Rogers (P7221).
McDonald's uses eggs supplied by Oasters who keep chickens in battery cages, where the chickens have no freedom of movement, no access to fresh air and sunshine.