Activists Flock to Alexandria for McDonald’s Demonstration

by Stuart McDonald

Following the Animal Rights National Conference, this past weekend over 140 activists flocked to McDonald’s in Alexandria, Virginia, to protest the terrible treatment of birds in the burger chain’s chicken supply line. 

The demonstration was part of a coalition effort led by The Humane League, Compassion Over Killing, Animal Equality, and Mercy For Animals to encourage the fast food giant to implement meaningful standards that would eliminate some of the worst abuses of the millions of chickens killed for its nuggets and sandwiches every year.

Activists lined the sidewalk in a silent demonstration holding signs telling McDonald’s “cruelty won’t fly,” and “animal abuse is bad business.”

Competitors like Burger King, Subway, and Chipotle have taken steps towards basic welfare improvements for birds raised for slaughter or started offering plant-based options. We’ve been urging McDonald’s to catch up and now there’s a hint that it might be. Just this week it was announced that OSI Group, one of McDonald’s main beef suppliers, is partnering with meatless Impossible Foods. Impossible has already entered the fast food space by going nationwide at Burger King–could McDonald’s be next, despite writing off meatless options as a fleeting trend in the past?

It’s time for McDonald’s to catch up in the vegan market–and in the treatment of birds. Chickens raised on factory farms in McDonald’s supply chain are bred for rapid growth, resulting in a short life of pain. Additionally, these smart and social birds are confined by the thousands in filthy conditions, unable to exhibit natural behaviors.


“Under the golden arches, the golden rule does not apply to birds: Millions of chickens raised for the McDonald’s menu are suffering the crippling effects of unnatural rapid growth and living in filthy and intensively crowded conditions,” said Laura Cascada, Senior Director of Campaigns and Outreach for Compassion Over Killing.


Because they are bred to grow unnaturally large, extremely fast, many broiler birds suffer from medical conditions affecting their blood circulation and bone growth. Often, birds become so heavy that their legs cannot hold their weight and they are unable to move about their small temporary home. In their life span of only about 45 days, many of these young chickens die before they are shipped by the thousands to slaughter.

This demonstration follows other actions by the coalition, including a protest of 220 activists last summer in Los Angeles and a powerful billboard in Times Square.

You can take action from right where you are. Tell McDonald’s to adopt more meaningful chicken welfare policies at truthaboutmcdonalds.com. And at your next meal, choose a compassionate vegan option.

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