RSPCA Approved chicken now found under the Golden Arches
McDonald’s is one of the most recognizable names in quick service restaurants. Last month, they made a major move to improve animal welfare. The Australian branch of the global restaurant chain launched a new range of chicken salads and wraps featuring RSPCA Approved Chicken for the first time.
The RSPCA’s work in caring for dogs and cats and finding them new homes is well-known. However, many people may not be aware that it also plays a significant role in advocating improvements to animal welfare within Australia’s farming industry. This is done in collaboration with the industry, business, and, most importantly, farmers. We can improve the lives and welfare of millions of animals on farms in the United States by working together.
We work with Australian companies by offering advice and guidance regarding sourcing policies. We are proud to be working with McDonald’s to make Australians more aware of the importance of sourcing food responsibly.
In 2017, McDonald’s committed to sourcing 100% of its eggshells from cage-free systems. Since then, McDonald’s has served more than 85 million eggs per year, which means that more than 800,000 hens are now living a better, more free life, able to flap their wings and lay their eggs.
Sourcing RSPCA-approved chicken
McDonald’s has worked with Australia’s agriculture industry for over 50 years. In 2019, McDonald’s purchased more than 15.7 million kilograms (kg) of local chicken from Australia’s chicken meat farming industry.
McDonald’s received the RSPCA certification by working with its existing suppliers, Ingham’s Turosi and Baiada. These three chicken suppliers committed to regular assessments in order to ensure that their farms met the RSPCA’s stricter animal welfare standards.
McDonald’s sources chickens from farms all over the country. These farms range from smaller family-run farms to large company-owned farms. These farms are all RSPCA-approved and have participated in this Scheme for many years.
What is it like to live on a farm approved by the RSPCA
Meat Chickens on RSPCA-approved farms are raised in an environment that is both safe and comfortable, as well as entertaining. They also enjoy being active and moving around. Their background must be suited to the specific needs of each chicken and allow them to act in a way that is natural to them.
McDonald’s uses chickens from RSPCA-approved farms, which house them in an indoor environment that is more humane.
Dry litter on the floor allows birds to dustbathe.
Perches are used throughout to encourage birds to move and build muscles and bones in their legs and wings.
Bright, shiny disks and chains for birds to play and peck.
Proper Lighting Bright lights during the day encourage bird activity, and complete darkness at night allows birds to rest.
Temperature Control to ensure birds don’t get too cold or hot.
Lower Stocking Densities so that birds can move more freely.
What does it mean to be RSPCA-approved
It’s not easy to become RSPCA-approved. Farms must meet RSPCA animal welfare standards. RSPCA standards for meat chickens are very detailed. They cover the birds from the time they arrive at the hatchery until they are killed.
An RSPCA Assessor visits all places where animals are housed as part of the Scheme to ensure that the standards are met. The RSPCA will see the farm 2-4 times per year and also make visits to the abattoir.
McDonald’s must have systems of traceability in place that allow them to track products from the point of sale all the way back to their farm.
There are more than 1,000 McDonald’s in Australia today, which serve over 1.7 million customers each day.
McDonald’s commits to providing customers with transparent information about how they work to improve animal welfare and health in their supply chain.
We at the RSPCA are excited to continue our collaboration with McDonald’s to improve animal handling, housing, health, and slaughtering practices.
McDonald’s, like its customers, is concerned about the treatment of farm animals. By sourcing their chicken from farms that participate in the RSPCA’s Approved-Farming Scheme, they are showing how much they care.
These commitments are driven by their customers. Thank you for caring about farm animals. For making your voice heard. And for supporting businesses that do good things for animals.