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McDonald’s Under Fire for Using Chickens With Heart Failure

Activists say these chickens are bred so quickly that their organs cannot keep up.

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The ethics behind fast-food is one that is heavily debated by animal rights activists, especially when it comes to the condition the animals are in before they are processed for food. Animal welfare campaigners have launched a worldwide campaign starting with the fast-food giant McDonald’s for using chickens that are forced to grow too quickly, resulting in several health problems.

According to a report by Independent, the chickens used for McDonald’s menu items are “selectively bred over time to put on weight more rapidly” to the point where the chickens’ organs cannot keep up with the growth.

Animal rights activists have begun protesting at the McDonald’s UK headquarters.

“McDonald’s chicken welfare policy is little more than a smokescreen to distract consumers from the fact that they are simply not prepared to make the kind of meaningful improvements which would actually reduce the suffering of chickens,” says Pru Elliot, head of campaigns at The Humane League UK. “They are trying to paint themselves as an ethically-minded company but it is very clear that their highest priority is profit, not ethics.”

The issues raised have not fallen on deaf ears as the matter is not new to both activists and the fast-food world. In October 2017, McDonald’s Corp issued guidelines that require suppliers to adhere to new standards for chickens that will be served in its restaurants.

According to the release by McDonald’s Corp, the company is prioritizing, “animal health and welfare, antibiotic stewardship, and sustainable chicken feed.” The rules also dictate the condition of the environment the chickens are in, including the amount of light in the chicken houses and structures that promote natural behavior. Suppliers must comply with the new standards by 2024.

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Arianna is College Media Network's Weekend Editor and a student at Penn State University. She has written for various websites, including Thought Catalog and The Odyssey Online. Arianna also runs her own blog called Chasses 'n Lattes in which she combines her passion for fitness and writing in hopes of inspiring and empowering others through her work.

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