Taiwan activists urge McDonald’s to stop using battery-farmed eggs

Taipei, May 21 (CNA) A Taiwanese non-profit organization campaigning for environmental protection and animal rights held a protest in Taipei on Saturday to urge global fast-food giant McDonald’s to stop using battery-raised chicken eggs.

In downtown Taipei, representatives dressed in chicken costumes from the Environment & Animal Society of Taiwan (EAST) unfurled banners and held signs outside a McDonald’s outlet, calling on the fast-food chain to stop selling. to use eggs from battery-raised chickens and stop the abuse of laying hens.

The banners and signs read: “McDonald’s, stop abusing the chickens”, with an EST representative holding a cage with several fake chickens inside.

EAST’s campaign was carried out in unison with counterparts from South Korea, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia and Hong Kong on a regional “no cage” day.

EAST handed out the protest banners to McDonald’s employees and demanded that the fast-food chain release its cage-free egg policy and a timetable for its implementation as soon as possible.

Speaking to reporters, Fang Chu Chune (寸舫筑), an EAST researcher, said caged chickens refer to two to five hens housed in a cage, with a living space per hen equal to approximately the size a piece of A4 paper.

Caged chickens are kept under a battery cage system, referring to the arrangement of rows and columns of identical cages linked together, in a unit, as in an artillery battery. Egg production in battery cages has long been criticized as an inhumane practice.

In such a poor living environment, Chune said, the welfare of the chickens had been compromised and there were doubts about the food safety of the eggs they produce given that many companies around the world had committed to not using battery-reared eggs for commercial processing.

At a time when competitors such as KFC and Burger King had already implemented cage-free egg policies, Chune said McDonald’s was still using eggs from battery-raised chickens in Asia, despite promising to use eggs. free-range in other markets such as the United States, Canada, Latin America and South Africa.

Chune says animal rights groups in Asia have been lobbying McDonald’s to end the use of caged eggs for 10 years, but the US-based fast food chain has failed to come up with an answer satisfactory.

Chune said that although McDonald’s told its shareholders this year that it was ready to use its global influence to improve animal welfare, there was no immediate sign that the food brand would stop the use. eggs from battery-raised chickens in Asia.

“It’s almost discriminatory, and certainly an unfortunate decision by McDonald’s,” Chune said.

She said McDonald’s should provide cage-free eggs to its outlets in Asia as soon as possible.

In response, McDonald’s Taiwan said in a statement that the company has always adhered to Taiwan’s food hygiene regulations and been dedicated to food safety while emphasizing food quality and management. of operation.

McDonald’s said it has paid close attention to animal rights and improved the environment in which chickens are raised through the use of water curtain systems and ensuring the animals are fed sufficient.

McDonald’s added that it has contracted SGS institutions certified by the Food and Drug Administration to perform veterinary drug residue testing based on local regulations.

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