December 11, 2013 Sections
Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION
VANCOUVER -- McDonald's Canada says it does not buy eggs that are produced from two Alberta farms featured in a gruesome documentary showing chickens subject to what an animal rights group is calling "egregious animal cruelty."
However, the fast food giant has confirmed in an email to The Canadian Press it does buy eggs from a company headquartered in Ontario that does business with the two farms featured in the CTV W5 documentary aired last week.
That company, Burnbrae Farms, confirmed in a statement Monday it has purchased eggs from the Alberta farms, but never sold those eggs to McDonald's.
"Although Burnbrae Farms has purchased eggs from KuKu Farms, none of these eggs have ever entered the McDonald's Canadian supply chain," said company president Margaret Hudson.
"Burnbrae Farms does not sell product of any kind to McDonald's Canada which is sourced from Alberta."
The hidden-camera footage is filmed by Mercy For Animals Canada. It shows hens crowded in battery cages and chicks being violently smashed against hard surfaces by workers and then thrown into garbage bags at what the organization says is KuKu Farms and Creekside Grove Farms.
The video, which was shown at a news conference on Monday, also shows dead hens rotting in the cages and chicks being covered in feces.
A written statement Monday from Burnbrae Farms said the company does not tolerate animal abuse and has "suspended the purchase of eggs from the farms depicted in the video pending full investigation."
"Burnbrae Farms is committed to treating all of our hens in a safe and humane manner and we expect all of our suppliers to do the same."
Mercy For Animals Canada said its video footage was taken by an undercover investigator who was hired as a farm worker by KuKu Farms and Creekside Grove Farms for 10 weeks in May.
Creekside Grove Farms provides chicks to KuKu Farms, and KuKu Farms then supplies eggs to Burnbrae Farms, the organization said.
"(The hens) are so crammed inside those cages they can't spread their wings, they can't walk, they can't turn around, they can't engage in any of their natural behaviour," said Stephane Perrais, director of operations with Mercy For Animals Canada.
A statement said McDonald's does not condone animal abuse by its suppliers.
"We care about the humane treatment of animals and believe they should be free from cruelty, abuse and neglect," said spokeswoman Karin Campbell in the written statement emailed to The Canadian Press.
-- The Canadian Press
Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition October 22, 2013 A11