Thursday, December 3, 2009

Episode 9 Mcdonalds Free Range Eggs, Veganism On TV

Episode 9 Mcdonalds Free Range Eggs, Veganism on TV

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 ., 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 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,, 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  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 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.

Overall, I'm glad that Veganism was mentioned on mainstream New Zealand television, but I wish it wasnt portrayed, in my opinion, as "weird" or "difficult". To start with, Veganism was introduced in a negative light by the main host

<"vegan? id think about canceling etc clip">

The host kept saying "vauge-in" instead of "vegan" which grated on my nerves.

I didnt like the massive house clearing that was shown either, going from room to room saying "cant have this, cant have that" etc. It came across like a punishment, like an angry mother taking away a childs toys. It made veganism seem like a rulebook of "forbidden" items, something that would mess up your whole life. Although, there was a fun little detour to the "naughty aisle" which I liked, it helped to bust the myth that vegans only eat lettuce with a side glass of mineral water.

I think Caro did a wonderful job of representing Vegans worldwide, she was informative and seemed friendly. My only issue with the story was how veganism was talked about for most of the episode, it started with an unfunny jab about vegan's missing out , had a massive room by room clearance of The Forbidden Items, although this was partly offset by the "naughty aisle detour" in the supermarket. There was a taste test where the one single meat dish was unanimously judged to be the best, DOH! The first taste tester picked up on it too, , which the main host tried to forget, mentioning how one of the products fooled them. Then, after the meat was judged best tasting, a piece of the inferior fake meat was taken over to a nutritionist who works for the New Zealand meat industry! I tried to get a comment from her, but didnt get a reply. Of course, we can imagine what she had to say, Veganism was essentially made to seem impossible, with comments like ", the meat industry nutritionist was then thanked for appearing and the Veganism section of the episode ended without warning.

I asked Dean Cornish, the host who tried Veganism for his thoughts, and got this in reply.

Quote from Dean

"Hi Jordan -Part of the lengthier stuff that wasn't shown on the show was that I 'roadtested' a raw vegan diet for two weeks as part of it. I found that I slept amazingly and that green smoothies were a great way to start the day. I also lost weight and had more energy at the gym. As far as my eating habits go now, I'm a pescaterian."

Dean was on the VegaNZ chat email group that I'm a moderator of, and he received a warm response from New Zealand vegans. I believe he also now knows how to say "vegan" properly :)

Caro represented Vegans, she did a great job. Heres a reply I got from Caro.

"Hi Jordan,
I had a great time filming the show. The producer, camera man, and presenter were all lovely people and very respectful. I was really impressed with Dean Cornishes commitment to trialling a vegan diet for a week. He came to a vegan birthday party with me (picked me up from college too), and came out to a vegan restaurant for dinner with me and some friends. He was amazed at how good fake meats tasted and decided to do a fake meat taste test challenge to prove to viewers how good it is. He was disappointed the taste test didn't make it to air, but it can be viewed online: episode 9, chapter 4. I thought they did a good job of helping viewers to understand not only what it means to be a vegan eg. the things we avoid, but also show that there are a lot of options at the general supermarket for things we can have. I was also greatful they gave exposure to SAFE's shop, so viewers can see being vegan doesn't mean going without, and there are plenty of delicious and fun options for us. There was a lot that I talked about that didn't make it to air, but I understand there were time contraints for the piece and they wanted to make it an interesting piece for the viewers, with lots of action and less sitting and talking. I was pleased that they included my reasons for becoming vegan initially (health), and they also explained why we avoid things like feather duvets and wool, and included a bit about farm animals and the impact on the environment. Overall I was very happy with the show, and am always greatful to get more exposure on veganism. Viewers were able to see that intelligent normal people are vegans, it's not just for the punks and alternative hippy types. And also being vegan can be easy and fun. I was pleased with the overall effect of the show, and have had many positive comments on it.

Love & blessings,

I thought Caro did a great job, it was just the way the footage was put together that I didnt like how Vegans were portrayed, that its a big deal to remove every animal product from every room of your house, that we buy unusual products, even if they are from the very impressive SAFE vegan store, I wish we had one of those in Invercargill. And, overall the fake meat products were judged as having a good TEXTURE but were not as "flavourful" as real meat. I guess if you enjoy the taste of blood and guts, you cant beat the real thing.

I was quite happy to see Veganism on mainstream New Zealand tv. I sort of knew how it would end, after all, Beef and Lamb are advertised each day on television, and a spokeswoman for Beef and Lamb had the last words during a piece on Veganism. Its rather interesting, in the Beef and Lamb ads, a T.Rex song is played, "I love to boogie" while sporting celebrities jump about. The main vocalist of the band, Marc Bolan was vegetarian for at least a good part of his life, possibly not in the last years of his life before dying in a car crash. Think about that every time you see the ad promoting New Zealand Beef and Lamb, that the person singing the song was vegetarian!

I have a spoof Beef and Lamb campaign t shirt, made by my friend Sam Tucker. You can find him at fft radio . On the shirt, it has the usual sporting celebrities from the actual ad, but instead of their t shirts having "beef + lamb" written over the three celebrities t shirts, it instead has "meat is murder". Beneath that, theres a photo of a cow hanging upside down at a slaughterhouse, and a newborn lamb. At the bottom, it says "Beef + Lamb, be twice as CRUEL". I think its great.

I can only hope that Veganism is brought up more often in mainstream media. I'm doing my part through my podcast, and I wish all other Vegan activists the best of luck.

Thank you for listening to Coexisting With Nonhuman Animals.

You can find the script for this episode, as well as downloads for every episode of Coexisting With Nonhuman Animals at coexisting with nonhuman animals .

If you want to contact me, even just to say you listened, send an email to, j a y w o n t d a r t @, I'd appreciate it.

Thank you for listening.


Use As Directed Vegan (starts after the Coffee section)

Mcdonalds Free Range TV3

franchise info website RE Mcdonalds

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