Welcome to episode 9 of Coexisting With Nonhuman Animals. Mcdonalds Free Range, and Veganism on tv.
Before I begin, I'd like to say hello to Gordon, who left a comment recently on my blog, coexisting with nonhuman animals . blogspot.com, and also to Jay , who sent me a positive email. You can follow Jay on Twitter, her username is "Calif_Vegan", for californian Vegan, c a l i f underscore vegan". If anyone else enjoys this podcast, I'd love to hear from you personally, you can twitter or facebook or email me. My username is Jay wont dart everywhere, jaywontdart @gmail.com or on twitter or on facebook. J a y w o n t d a r t.
This episode I'd like to talk about two recent media stories. The first, Mcdonalds, the multinational fast food company, has decided to only use free range eggs in New Zealand stores. At the moment, just two cities in the South Island of New Zealand will use free range eggs, AND the eggs themselves come from the North Island, hundreds of kilometres away! Im puzzled to why Dunedin and Christchurch were chosen, with a combined population of only a couple hundred thousand, why not Auckland with a population of over a million people? I guess it really could be the supply, there might not be enough free range eggs in the country for larger Mcdonalds stores. Does it just happen that the North Island of New Zealand has all the Free Range egg farms? It could also be related to the franchisee, the person or people who own all the Mcdonalds stores in the Dunedin and Christchurch regions might be more interested in Free Range eggs than other Mcdonalds store owners.
Heres a clip from 3 News. Horror footage of hens in battery cages is shown a few times, to show the supposed "night and day" difference between "regular" eggs and the "Happy Eggs", Free range. In Christchurch, some swimming pool sized omelette was made. Hans Kriek from SAFE appears, I'll mention that after letting the clip play in full.
If consumers want Free Range eggs so badly, why are we so chronically undersupplied for them? Remembering that horror footage of battery farms was shown, it should be pointed out that JUST two cities in New Zealand are switching eggs, thats 19 stores total. According to a franchise info website I found, franchise.co.nz, there are roughly 144 Mcdonalds stores in the country. That horror footage of battery cage egg farms? Those awful places supplied all Mcdonalds stores up until this announcement. Now, based on the number I found online, there should be 125 out of 144 Mcdonalds stores still using battery cage eggs. I suck at math, but that should be about 86 percent of all Mcdonalds still using battery cage eggs.
How can you celebrate that 86 percent of Mcdonalds fast food resturant eggs will be from battery hens? It reminds me of that "Mission Accomplished" Bush photo op, proclaiming the War On Terror to be over years ago, while its still ongoing today, with no actual signs of stopping.
On the Mcdonalds website, a lot is made of animal welfare. Its a feel good thing, "come to our store, we have animal welfare policies, it moral to keep paying us money for food made from animals" Its all PR for the company.
Reading from the Mcdonalds website,
"where does McDonald’s stand on animal welfare?
McDonald’s has some of the highest animal welfare standards in the world, and we are proud of the work we have undertaken with our suppliers to ensure animals are farmed humanely and treated with respect. In New Zealand, all McDonald’s suppliers also comply with or exceed New Zealand animal welfare legislation.
One of the initiatives implemented globally by McDonald’s is our work with industry recognised animal welfare experts, including Dr Temple Grandin www.grandin.com. Dr Grandin is highly regarded for her work in setting and continually improving global animal welfare standards, and has visited New Zealand a number of times."
Temple Grandin is the slaughterhouse designer who received an award from PETA.
I said I'd mention that SAFE has claimed the fact that 19 out of 144 Mcdonalds stores are going to use free range eggs as a victory. Hans Kriek was at the big Christchurch Mcdonalds PR event, breaking a world record for largest amount of scrambled eggs. I'll play that bit over again.
What the heck is a vegan doing at that kind of event? 20,000 eggs were used, as well as 100 litres of cream. And a vegan was there to celebrate this as a victory? It must have been weird, a large crowd of people going to get their portion, while a Vegan stood next to it. Just thinking about all those eggs and cream, it makes me feel sick. And all for what, some cheap PR stunt for a fast food company.
I've always liked birds more than most other animals, and so stories of how chickens are mistreated especially upset me. I look after a rooster and a hen, and at the moment, Mrs Hen has a clutch of eggs she's keeping warm. Shes sitting on roughly 10 eggs, with her wings almost fully outstretched, you cannot see the eggs underneath her. Shes been sitting for a couple of weeks now, almost never moving, just staring straight ahead of her, keeping her eggs warm. Every day or so, I assume she does get off the eggs, I've caught her once off the eggs and she was in a terrible state. She was just a few metres from her nest, but she really didnt want to be away from the eggs. She had what looked like tears in her eyes, her eyes were very wet looking, and she had all her feathers in a mess, she must have been desperate for food and water, having not moved more than a centimetre for a very long time. Looking after her eggs are her top priority. Hens are some of the worlds best mothers, and so taking away their eggs is one of the cruelest uses of animal products.
To have a news story about Mcdonalds changing eggs in 19 of its roughly 144 New Zealand stores, that number might not be correct, its nothing more than PR for Mcdonalds. This does not help chickens suffering today, a common defense of Welfarist Vegans. It only makes people who consume animal products feel better about eating Mcdonalds product. Despite using them for decades, even Mcdonalds can now agree that battery hens have no quality of life. But still, according to my wacky math, 86 percent of the eggs Mcdonalds steals from innocent little hens will have been kept in battery farms for their whole, short, miserable lives.
Free range eggs dont help hens, they only help large welfare groups declare "victory", give positive PR to large food companies, help farmers gouge the customer, and help omnivores feel better about eating animal products.
USE AS DIRECTED, VEGAN
Use As Directed is a New Zealand tv series that teaches us more about food and products we use. One episode mentioned Veganism, I've linked to the online video in my shownotes, and I'll play the audio now. Overall I like the presenter, Dean Cornish, but didnt like how the piece was edited. Representing Veganism was Caro, a former manager of the SAFE store. I've been told that Im just overly sensitive, so I'll let you judge for yourself.