McDonald's Corp. and one of its chicken suppliers have severed ties to a Tennessee poultry farm from which an animal rights group obtained video of birds being mistreated.
“We believe treating animals with care and respect is an integral part of a responsible supply chain and find the behavior depicted in this video to be completely unacceptable,” Oak Brook, Ill.-based McDonald’s said in a statement provided by Jeanette DeBartolo, communications supervisor.
McDonald’s said it supported the decision of its supplier, Springdale Ark.-based Tyson Foods Inc., to terminate its contract with T&S Farm in Dukedom, Tenn., where an investigator with the group Mercy for Animals secretly recorded birds being beaten with a spiked stick. The video was released on Wednesday.
“We’re working with Tyson Foods to further investigate this situation and reinforce our expectations around animal health and welfare at the farm level,” McDonald’s said.
Worth Sparkman, a Tyson spokesman, said in an email sent to Nation’s Restaurant News that “animal well-being is a priority at our company, and we will not tolerate the unacceptable animal treatment shown in this video. We’re especially concerned about the inappropriate methods used to euthanize sick and injured chickens.”
Sparkman said Tyson is investigating further. “However, based on what we currently know, we are terminating the farmer’s contract to grow chickens for us,” he said. “There are currently no chickens on the farm.”
Sparkman added that the Tyson FarmCheck program employs third parties who audit farms for such procedures as animal access to food and water, human-animal interaction and worker training.
“We also have veterinary-approved procedures in place for euthanizing sick or injured birds,” Sparkman noted.
Vandhana Bala, an attorney for West Hollywood, Calif.-based Mercy for Animals, told USA Today that the video was recorded by an investigator for the group who applied for a job at the farm and worked there for about four weeks.
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