A Legacy of Action: Enhancing Animal Welfare at McDonald’s

Bruce Feinberg is a Senior Director at McDonald’s responsible for Global Quality Systems for chicken, beef, pork, fish and dairy products. Feinberg is a graduate of Pennsylvania State University with a B.S. in Animal Science and completed advanced course work at the University of Edinburgh, in Scotland focused on International Animal Welfare, Ethics and Law.

Healthy animals provide safe food, and for a company that has built its reputation on serving safe food since 1955, this is critically important to us and our customers. At McDonald’s, we are committed to sourcing our food and packaging sustainably and working alongside our suppliers — and we’re constantly evolving. I’m proud of this work as we move to elevate our global commitment to source chickens raised with improved welfare outcomes, adopting simple measures as indicators of how animals adapt (positively or negatively) to their environment. Today’s announcement involves an 8-step program, focused on the health and welfare of chickens, including outcome-based measures providing us a holistic picture of the lives of those animals in our supply chain and the ability to have informed conversations with producers about where improvements might be required. Together, we believe these new commitments provide the ability to drive and measure continuous improvement for the health and welfare of chickens and has led to the establishment of a global, multi-stakeholder Advisory Council focused on continuously improving chicken sustainability.

We have a long track record of actively engaging with producers, academic advisors and our suppliers to drive change and improve the health and welfare of animals in our supply chain throughout their lives. Shortly after I joined McDonald’s in 1998, we formed a council of animal welfare experts to help McDonald’s address emerging issues associated with food animal production. Our “roll-up-our-sleeves” and “boots-on-the-ground” approach helped us to appreciate the geographic and cultural diversity that exists within our supply chain. It also provided us with a deep sense of appreciation for farmers and producers that are often awake long before the sun comes up, who don’t finish until after dark, and the important role they play along with veterinarians, academics and industry leadership in growing and sourcing food.

Over the years, we have continued to work across industries and across the globe to continuously learn and drive further improvements in our supply chain. This work fosters additional collaboration with suppliers, NGOs, academics, and industry experts leading the additional improvements As a global restaurant company doing business in more than 100 countries, we understand the responsibilities associated with our scale and the positive influence we can have as one of the largest purchasers of beef and chicken — a responsibility we take very seriously.

“Animal welfare is not a new topic at McDonald’s. We have been proactively involved in this area since the 1990s, when we established a relationship with renowned animal welfare expert Dr. Temple Grandin who was a founding member of our animal welfare council.”- Bruce Feinberg

I began working with Temple early in my McDonald’s career, having traveled the world with her as she helped train suppliers and McDonald’s teams on her objective welfare measures, instilling that we all have a responsibility to the animals trusted to our care. The beef and pork objective measurement systems that she developed were later adopted by American Meat Institute (now NAMI) as the industry guidance documents for objective welfare measurement.

“McDonald’s 8 step program is one of the most comprehensive chicken animal welfare plans I’ve ever seen.” - Dr. Temple Grandin

I never imagined that my career path at McDonald’s would take me to the places I’ve been and allowed me to develop business and personal relationships with some of the most well-recognized and respected experts in the field of animal health and welfare, enabling the scale and scope of our global supply chain to drive impactful change on key societal issues. We’re proud of where we are today and the partnerships we’ve developed along the way. While it’s taken us years to get to this point, we see the work in this area as a journey to building a stronger industry and a better McDonald’s and we believe these commitments will drive continuous improvement for the health and welfare of chickens in our supply chain.