Tuk tuk ads ask McDonald’s to treat animals better
The international NGO Sinergia Animal has launched advertisements on 15 tuk tuks in Bangkok to ask McDonald’s to stop sourcing eggs from hens confined in battery cages, which are considered one of the cruelest practices in animal agriculture. The tuk tuks are circulating around Siam Square, Pan fah pier, Khao San Road, and Hua Lamphong train station.
The action is a part of the consumer awareness campaign launched by Sinergia Animal in 2019 (www.change.org/McThaiEggs). The NGO explains that McDonald’s should apply the same standards in Thailand as they do in North America and Europe, where the company has policies committing not to source eggs from battery cage farms. “The lack of a similar policy in Thailand exposes their double standards. It is not acceptable for a multinational like them to treat animals across the world differently,” says Wichayapat Piromsan, campaign manager of Sinergia Animal in Thailand.
Battery cages: Animal cruelty and public health concerns
Battery cages are an industrial egg production system that keeps several hens confined in small metal cages, such that each hen spends her life in a space smaller than an A4 sheet of paper and cannot walk freely nor open her wings completely. The lack of physical exercise can cause them painful bone diseases and fractures.
Battery cages are also a threat to public health. According to the European Food Safety Authority, which conducted one of the largest studies ever about the issue, battery cages pose a higher risk of contamination with Salmonella, a bacterium that can be fatal. “A switch to cage-free eggs can significantly improve food safety,” explains Wichayapat.
Illustrative image of a battery cage system
Due to welfare and public health concerns, conventional battery cages have been banned in several countries and the European Union. However, the vast majority of the 60 million hens in Thailand still live under this system.
“Many companies have already realized that the system is outdated, cruel, and dangerous for food safety, and have committed to stop sourcing eggs from caged hens,” comments Piromsan, citing as examples Subway, The Pizza Company, Swensen’s, Sizzler, Dairy Queen, Bonchon, and The Coffee Club, and even the number one competitor of McDonald’s: Burger King.
“We can’t help but wonder why McDonald’s let itself fall behind business competitors like this, especially when so many people are asking them for better practices,” she says. The online petition launched towards the end of 2019 has gathered almost 20,000 signatures. Consumers who want to learn more about the campaign and ask for better standards can visit www.mcthai.org or www.change.org/mcthaieggs.