The Rotten Truth Behind Egg McMuffins (Updated)

The Rotten Truth Behind Egg McMuffins (Updated)

Nov 23



Mercy for Animals
November 17, 2011

Original Link

A new Mercy For Animals undercover investigation into a McDonald’s egg supplier exposes the fast-food giant’s secret ingredient: shocking cruelty to animals.

Hidden-camera footage taken at Sparboe Egg Farm facilities in Iowa, Minnesota and Colorado reveals:

• Hens crammed into filthy wire cages with less space for each bird than a standard-sized sheet of paper to live her entire miserable life, unable to fully stretch her wings or engage in most other natural behaviors

• Workers burning off the beaks of young chicks without any painkillers and callously throwing them into cages, some missing the cage doors and hitting the floor

• Rotted hens, decomposed beyond recognition as birds, left in cages with hens still laying eggs for human consumption

• A worker tormenting a bird by swinging her around in the air while her legs were caught in a grabbing device — violence described as “torture” by another worker

• Chicks trapped and mangled in cage wire — others suffering from open wounds and torn beaks

• Live chicks thrown into plastic bags to be suffocated

Common sense tells us that animals should be given at a minimum the freedom to walk, stretch their limbs, turn around and engage in natural behaviors. Yet, this McDonald’s supplier deprives hens of even these most basic freedoms.

Barren battery cages are so cruel that the entire European Union and the states of California and Michigan have banned their use. Additionally, leading food retailers, such as Whole Foods, Hellmann’s, and Wolfgang Puck, and hundreds of colleges and universities refuse to use or sell eggs from hens subjected to the inherent abuses of battery cages.

MFA is calling on McDonald’s Corporation to end its use of eggs from hens confined in battery cages in the United States, as it has already in the European Union.

Sadly, not a single federal law currently provides any protection to birds at the hatchery, on the factory farm, or during slaughter. Further, most states — including those in which this investigation was conducted — have sweeping exemptions for farmed animals, which allow for abuses to run rampant without prosecution.

While McDonald’s has the moral obligation and purchasing power to lessen the cruelty suffered by the millions of hens who are abused and exploited to produce eggs for its restaurants, consumers also hold enormous power of their own in preventing animal abuse by adopting a compassionate vegan diet.


Huffington Post
November 18, 2011

Original Link

Mercy For Animals, known for exposing instances of animal cruelty across the country, has just released its newest undercover footage. The video, which was shot at McDonald’s egg supplier Sparboe Egg Farms, the fifth largest egg supplier in the country, shows various acts of animal cruelty including:

• Hens crammed into wire cages

• Workers burning off the beaks of young chicks and throwing them into cages

• Workers grabbing hens by their throats and ramming them into battery cages

• Rotted hens and decomposed birds left in cages with hens still laying eggs for human consumption

• A worker tormenting a bird by swinging her around in the air while her legs were caught in a grabbing device

• A worker shoving a bird into the pocket of another employee

• Chicks trapped and mangled in cage wire, others with open wounds and torn beaks

• Live chicks thrown into plastic bags to be suffocated

Sparboe had produced all eggs used by McDonald’s restaurants west of the Mississippi River. Mercy For Animals started a petition to urge McDonald’s to uncage egg-laying hens, and McDonald’s was fast to respond. McDonald’s released a statement, sent via email to The Huffington Post, from Bon Langert, Vice President, Sustainability, that said:

“McDonald’s expects all of our suppliers to meet our stringent requirements for delivering high quality food prepared in a humane and responsible manner. Based upon recent information, we have informed our direct supplier, Cargill, that we are no longer accepting eggs from its supplier, Sparboe. This decision is based on McDonald’s and Cargill’s concern regarding the management of Sparboe’s facilities.

“This is not a food safety issue for our menu items. We can assure our customers that eggs in our entire supply chain meet McDonald’s high standards for quality and safety.

“Our primary commitment is to our customers, and we will continue serving safe, high-quality food without disruption.

“Regarding the undercover videos, the behavior on tape is disturbing and completely unacceptable. McDonald’s wants to assure our customers that we demand humane treatment of animals by our suppliers. We take this responsibility — along with our customers’ trust — very seriously. It’s important to note that the most alarming actions on video did not occur at Sparboe’s Vincent, Iowa, facility that supplies McDonald’s. Nonetheless, our extremely high standards for our suppliers prohibit this conduct.

“McDonald’s cares about how our food is sourced and we have a long history of action and commitment to improve the welfare of animals in our supply chain. We are a founding member of the Coalition for Sustainable Egg Supply (CSES) and are participating in an unprecedented three-year study that compares traditional, cage-free, and enriched laying hen housing systems on a commercial scale. For our customers, that means we’re working with scientists and suppliers to determine the most optimal hen housing method considering impacts on hen health & welfare, food safety, environment, and other important factors.

“McDonald’s is proud to be recognized as a leader in the restaurant industry for serving safe, quality food. Customers can feel good about eating at McDonald’s.”

Mercy For Animals executive director Nathan Runkle told ABC, which is airing the investigation tonight, that McDonald’s action was “too little, too late.” McDonald’s is the largest egg buyer in the U.S. In the past year, the Humane Society and the United Egg Producers teamed up to reform the egg industry.


November 19, 2011

Original Link

Since learning of animal mistreatment that has occurred at some of our farms, we have initiated a series of actions aimed at strengthening our animal care procedures and ensuring that our chickens are treated humanely.

Regrettably, these incidents should never have happened in the first place — but they did and we accept that responsibility. We were not as vigilant as we should have been in monitoring our farm employees to make sure that they were following our animal care code of conduct. However, we want to assure you that we are working around the clock to take corrective measures by enhancing our animal care policies and procedures to make our company better.

Before I go into some of the specifics of what we’re doing, I want to take this opportunity to thank our customers and consumers who took the time to share their concerns with us. I’ve read all of your comments, and want you to know I take full responsibility for correcting mistakes that have been made. I helped my father build this business, and I’m committed to doing whatever it takes to support the good work of the vast majority of our employees who strive to do the “right thing” every day.

Immediately upon learning of the undercover video, we launched a comprehensive investigation which identified four employees who were complicit in the disturbing activity. Because we have zero tolerance for animal abuse, the four have been terminated. A production manager also has been relieved of his duties.

Our investigation is ongoing and if any additional employees are involved, they will be held accountable.

Because we are intent on ensuring this never happens again, we have immediately engaged in the following:

1.) We have created a Sustainability Task Force that I will personally lead. The task force will be charged with reviewing and improving all current company practices for production and processing facilities in the areas of food safety, animal care and sustainability. The task force will include a national expert on food safety, one on animal care and a customer/consumer representative We are increasing our resources with additional employees for our animal care, food safety and compliance staffs to ensure that we do everything possible to enhance and strengthen our procedures in these areas.

2.) All bird-handling employees have been re-trained, and will receive additional training over time as we enhance our procedures and continually reinforce our uncompromising expectations for animal care.

3.) We will conduct further audits of ourselves. Last week, Sparboe Farms participated in and passed four third-party animal welfare audits. This week, we have engaged additional experts to conduct audits of the corrective action plans for our FDA food safety compliance procedures.

4.) We will promote our anonymous employee hotline more widely to help foster a culture that encourages employees to volunteer information if they observe violations of our animal care code of conduct.

Regarding the FDA warning letter from November 16th, we are working closely with the agency to rectify the observations as noted on FDA form #483. The FDA’s inspections last spring were the first to be conducted on Sparboe Farms since the FDA became responsible under the new Egg Safety Rule. We incorrectly assumed that we had sufficiently responded to the observations noted. We now know we were wrong and we had not supplied the detail that they needed. We are currently working 24/7 to provide the FDA with the necessary detail.

We understand that animal care and food safety are paramount to our customers and consumers. We focus on continuous improvement in every area of our business because we want to be an egg farmer that is truly “best in class.” To that end, we are making a concerted effort to be more transparent as our task force conducts its review and issues its recommendations. I invite our customers, consumers and the media to follow our progress.

Finally, I want to assure you that you can continue to have every confidence in the safety and integrity of our products. At Sparboe Farms we are proud of our long and unwavering tradition of offering the highest quality egg products. And we are committed to always doing what’s right and conducting business in a socially responsible manner.



Pulse on Factory Farming & Animal Abuse 


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