“After visiting McDonaldsCruelty.com and learning from my friends at Mercy For Animals that McDonald’s egg suppliers routinely torture egg-laying hens and their baby chicks, I have to tell you: ‘I’m Hatin’ It,’ ” the letter states.
The missive is a response to a video shot by animal rights group Mercy for Animals (MFA) that showed cruelty against chickens by employees at five Sparboe Farms facilities. The farm’s president and owner, Beth Sparboe Schnell, told ABC News the actions seen in the MFA’s video footage were “totally unacceptable,” and pledged to investigate the company’s practices.
McDonald’s ended its relationship with Sparboe, which formerly supplied a significant portion of the fast food chain’s eggs, after the video was released, telling the AP, “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.”
But the new celebrity-backed letter from MFA asks McDonald’s to go a step further and stop working with suppliers who use battery cages.
“On behalf of compassionate people everywhere, we implore you to help end the needless suffering of these animals by adopting strict and meaningful animal welfare policies worldwide, including the commitment to prohibit the purchase of eggs produced by hens who spend their miserable lives crammed into tiny wire cages,” the letter says.
Emily Deschanel, Wendie Malick, Alicia Silverstone, Maria Menounos, Kristin Bauer, Steve-O, Ed Begley Jr. and Bryan Adams also signed the letter. An accompanying petition has been signed by more than 32,000 people.
We’ve reached out to McDonald’s for comment, which we’re told it’s forthcoming. We will update this post once it is available.
Update: A rep for McDonald’s tells Celebritology CEO Jim Skinner has not received the letter.
“In the United States, 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 ... As a result of the study, we are purchasing a million eggs per month from each housing type,” the rep said in an e-mail. “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.”