I was walking my dog in Dilworth Sunday when I saw it: A paper sign with a creepy-looking Ronald McDonald leering at passersby. The image is paired with a slashed and blood-dripping version of the golden arches that comprise the McDonald’s logo’s “M,” and the campaign phrases “I’m not lovin’ it” and “speak up for animals.”
The sign reads: “Have you heard? McDonald’s is under fire for supporting some of the cruelest factory farming practices. While nearly 100 companies, including McDonald’s competitors, have produced strong animal welfare policies, McDonald’s is falling behind. Not only does McDonald’s current welfare policy mislead consumers, it fails to address the rampant cruelty in its chicken supply chain.”
The Humane League of Charlotte, a branch of the national nonprofit Humane League organization that seeks to save the lives of animals and reduce animal cruelty, sent their summer interns out into the city last week to spread the word about the I’m Not Lovin’ It campaign.
“We now have pull-tab leaflets hanging all over Charlotte,” The Humane League of Charlotte posted on Facebook on June 8. “If you see one, share a picture with the hashtag #imnotlovinit and tag McDonald’s!”
The tear-off “take action” tabs direct you to ImNotLovinIt.com, where you can sign a petition against McDonald’s “weak chicken welfare policy.”
According to the website, chickens used by the McDonald’s supply chain are unnaturally grown through selective breeding and genetic manipulation, they suffer from ammonia burns resulting from their own waste, and they are injured by the weight of their oversized bodies.
The national branch of the Humane League launched the I’m Not Lovin’ It campaign in April 2018 in Chicago.
The Chicago Tribune reported that, while McDonald’s announced a chicken welfare policy in October, the company did not commit to change the breeds it uses to supply its restaurants. It did, however, commit to steps like requiring chicken houses with perches and requiring slaughter by a gas-stunning method that is meant to be more humane. The fast-food company also shared plans to study alternative breeds of chickens to improve welfare outcomes.
“We’re committed to sourcing our food and packaging sustainably, including the welfare of the animals in our global supply chain,” McDonald’s corporate communications stated in an email. “We believe that our outcome-based approach provides the most comprehensive way forward to measurably improve chicken welfare. We recently announced a Global Chicken Sustainability Advisory Council, a multi-stakeholder group including leading academics and animal health and welfare experts, global suppliers, and NGOs. This group will provide deep expertise, diverse perspectives, and recommendations for evolving our chicken welfare and sustainability strategy.”
Still, David Coman-Hidy, executive director of The Humane League, told the Tribune, “Agreeing to study something is the hallmark of doing nothing. Study needs to be paired with a meaningful commitment.”
Featured photo: Katie Toussaint