McDonald’s announced on Monday (March 26) that it has formed a council dedicated to meet its chicken welfare and sustainability goals.
It is called the Chicken Sustainability Advisory Council, which will be composed of key suppliers, experts in genetics, sustainability advisors like FAI Farms and university academics. The council will advise the giant food chain on how to reach a massive goal of sourcing chickens raised humanely, while also ensuring suppliers meet demand with sustainable practices.
One of its commitments will be to require chickens to be raised in housing environments that promote natural behaviors such as pecking, perching and dust-bathing on or before 2024.
The creation of the council is a significant milestone in the company’s ongoing effort to create a sustainable food system for its 37,000 global restaurants according to Nicola Robinson, a veterinary surgeon and senior manager for global sustainability at McDonald’s Corp.
“As the world seeks to reconcile food production with the environmental limits of a finite planet, it is incumbent on all of us to ensure that production systems meet the welfare needs of food animal species, whilst protecting the ecological systems that sustain us all,” Robinson said.
McDonald’s has been working with multiple chicken broiler suppliers such as Tyson Foods, Keystone and Cargill. Since 2016, U.S. McDonald’s restaurants have phased out sourcing chickens treated with antibiotics important to human medicine.
Starting this year, McDonald’s will move to start globally eliminating chicken treated with antibiotics defined as high priority by the World Health Organization.