McDonald's UK Switches to Freedom Food Pork – Call for NZ to Follow

GLOBAL - McDonald’s has become first high street restaurant chain to serve 100 per cent Freedom Food pork from RSPCA monitored British farms- across its entire UK menu.
calendar icon 19 April 2013
clock icon 4 minute read

The move means that all sausage and bacon, used in the popular breakfast McMuffins through to the bacon in premium salads and promotional burgers, will all be from Freedom Food approved farms reared to our strict welfare standards.

David Squair from RSPCA Freedom Food said: “Having one of the UK’s biggest restaurant chains serving only Freedom Food logoed pork on its menu marks a major milestone for animal welfare.

“We are encouraged that McDonald's UK has shown an ongoing commitment to farm animal welfare over the last few years and the move to 100 per cent Freedom food pork is one of a number of initiatives that demonstrate the company’s genuine desire for change and improvement to farm animal welfare.”

McDonald’s commitment to farm animal welfare includes sourcing only free-range eggs and purchasing beef animals direct from farm – thereby eliminating livestock markets.

“We hope this move will encourage other restaurants to follow suit and use
Freedom Food pork, which hopefully in turn will mean more farmers rearing to higher welfare standards and more animals benefitting from better lives,” said Mr Squair.

Around 10 million pigs are reared for food in the UK, with nearly a third (30 per cent) reared under Freedom Food where they benefit from the RSPCA welfare standards.

The move in the UK has now prompted the Royal New Zealand SPCA to press McDonald’s in New Zealand to adopt its version of the Freedom Food scheme – the ‘Blue Tick’ farm accreditation scheme, which was launched in New Zealand in 2009.

“This is a great win for the animals. Companies like McDonalds have a huge impact on the way our animals are farmed around the world due to the large volumes they use,” said Juliette Banks, National Accreditation and Marketing Manager – SPCA Blue Tick.

“We have had little response to any of our attempts to engage with McDonalds in New Zealand, with commitment to making free range eggs available only in the Christchurch and Dunedin restaurants. This indicates that McDonalds’ animal welfare attitude is not global.”

The SPCA asks McDonalds, and indeed all other fast food businesses, to step up and lead the way to help improve animal welfare in New Zealand.

“New Zealand has enough land, layer hens, chickens, pigs and farmers willing to supply McDonalds or other fast food chains, with the quantities of high welfare products they require,” said Robyn Kippenberger, National Chief Executive – Royal New Zealand SPCA.

“Fast food restaurants have huge influence on attitudes to food. Millions of children can be made aware that there is a ‘better’ choice. If their ‘favourite’ meals take animal welfare into account, they will carry that message through into their future consumer behaviour.

At the end of the day it comes down to profits. This announcement puts us well behind what the UK are doing and New Zealanders should care about the impact this has on our animal welfare reputation - 55 per cent of our GDP comes from Primary Industries.”

The SPCA has asked consumers, as the most powerful change agents, to speak up and support this change by expressing their desire for high welfare fast food.

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