Almost everyone has heard of McDonald's, and most people have eaten at the chain at least once, but many people don't know about the horrific cruelty that goes into every portion of chicken served under the Golden Arches. In the slaughterhouses of McDonald's U.S. and Canadian chicken suppliers, birds are dumped out of their transport crates and hung upside-down in metal shackles, which often results in broken bones, extreme bruising, and hemorrhaging. Workers have the opportunity to abuse live birds, and birds have their throats cut while they are still conscious. Many birds are immersed in tanks of scalding-hot water while they are still alive and able to feel pain.
McDonald's has the ability to end these abuses.
A less cruel, USDA-approved method of chicken slaughter called "controlled-atmosphere killing," or CAK, is now being used in the U.S., and it would cost McDonald's nothing to demand that its suppliers adopt it. CAK would eliminate the worst abuses currently suffered by chickens killed for McDonald's. In fact, a 2005 study about CAK produced by McDonald's concluded that it is far better for animals than the current slaughter method.
Fortunately, some companies are taking action: Chicken suppliers Bell & Evans in Pennsylvania and Mary's Chickens in California are switching from the standard method of chicken slaughter to CAK. McDonald's, which claims to be a leader in animal welfare, has no excuse for sitting back and allowing chickens killed for its restaurants to suffer broken wings and legs and be scalded to death in defeathering tanks while other companies phase in this less cruel slaughter method.