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November 14, 2016

McDonald’s South Africa to source exclusively cage-free eggs

Humane Society International

  • In South Africa, most egg-laying hens are confined in wire battery cages, where each hen has about the space of a single sheet of paper to spend her whole life. The HSUS

JOHANNESBURG – Today, McDonald’s South Africa announced plans to switch to 100 percent cage-free eggs in its supply chain by 2025—a move that will spare thousands of animals each year from life inside cramped cages. 

This policy follows dialogue with Humane Society International, one of the world’s largest animal protection organizations, which has been working with McDonald’s on this and other animal welfare issues around the world.

Tozie Zokufa, Africa program manager for Humane Society International, stated: “We applaud McDonald’s South Africa for its leadership in corporate social responsibility and animal welfare. McDonald’s decision to switch to exclusively cage-free eggs improves the landscape for farm animals across South Africa, and makes it clear that the future of egg production is cage-free. We look forward to working with more companies on similar policies.”

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McDonald’s SA Chief Executive Officer, Greg Solomon, stated:  “Today, we are pleased to announce, ahead of the 12 month timeframe we set for ourselves that we will fully transition to cage-free eggs in all our restaurants across South Africa by 2025. Starting in 2017, we will begin to phase in cage-free eggs at all of our restaurants. Our egg supplier has committed to providing us with quality, safe and consistent supply at more than 10% per annum until all the eggs we purchase are cage-free by 2025. The move is testament to McDonald’s commitment towards sustainability and food innovations.”

In South Africa, most egg-laying hens are confined in wire battery cages, where each hen has about the space of a single sheet of paper to spend her whole life. Battery cages are among the cruelest of factory-farming practices. Undercover investigations have documented the suffering caused by the extreme overcrowding in these wire contraptions, where birds are confined to cages so small and tight, they cannot even spread their wings. 

The cage-free egg movement has quickly spread throughout the world and a growing number of food companies are adopting cage-free egg purchasing policies. HSI has worked with the food industry leaders around the world on their recent cage-free egg pledges, including Sodexo and Compass Group -- two of the world’s largest food service providers, and Arcos Dorados, the largest McDonald’s operator in Latin America.

Media contact:
Leozette Roode, lroode@hsi.org; t +27(0)713601104

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