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McDonald’s Chicken: Activists Demand Better Treatment for Birds

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Last Sunday, more than 220 activists gathered at McDonald’s in Los Angeles to protest the terrible treatment of birds in McDonald’s chicken supply line. The demonstration was part of a coalition led by The Humane League, Animal Outlook, Animal Equality and Mercy For Animals to encourage the fast food giant to implement meaningful standards that would eliminate some of the worst abuses of the millions of chickens killed for its nuggets and sandwiches every year.

Hundreds of activists lined up on the sidewalk outside the McDonald’s location, holding signs informing the public of McDonald’s suppliers’ cruel treatment of birds.

mcdonald's protest

Though competitors including Burger King, Subway and Chipotle have taken steps toward basic welfare improvements for birds raised for meat (known as “broiler birds”), McDonald’s continues to resist these measures. Chickens raised on factory farms in McDonald’s supply chain are bred for rapid growth, resulting in a short life of pain. Additionally, these smart and social birds are confined by the thousands in filthy conditions, unable to perform natural behaviors like dust-bathing, perching and nesting.

Because they are bred to grow unnaturally large extremely fast, many broiler birds suffer from medical conditions affecting their blood circulation and bone growth. Often, birds become so heavy that their legs cannot hold their weight and they are unable to move. Often, they end up trampled because of the intensively crowded conditions. In their life span of only about 45 days, many of these young chickens die before they are shipped by the thousands to slaughter.

The coalition is pressuring McDonald’s to eliminate the most egregious sources of suffering of birds in their supply chain by ending selective breeding for cruel rapid growth, providing birds with more space and environmental enrichments, monitoring air and litter quality to prevent painful and avoidable medical conditions, and other basic but crucial steps.

Today, McDonald’s continues to lag behind on science-based welfare standards, but we’re not quitting.

For more information and to speak up for birds, visit the coalition’s website, Truth About McDonald’s Chicken.

Ultimately, the best thing you can do for billions of birds is to take them off your plate. Try some delicious chicken-free recipes from

More than 200 activists gather outside of McDonald’s in Los Angeles.

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