Animal Health & Welfare

We continue to make the health and welfare of animals a priority throughout our supply chain.

A cow grazing in a field

Serving safe, quality food relies on animals that are properly cared for throughout their lives. At McDonald’s, this includes both animal health and welfare and responsible antibiotic use.

While individual countries may be impacted by different regulations, legislation and standards, we remain focused on the positive impact we can have by working with suppliers.


Our Recent Progress

  • We are currently on track to achieve our eight Broiler Welfare Commitments across our in-scope markets, which are expected to be fully implemented by the end of 2024.

  • More than 91% of our pork purchased in the U.S. comes from suppliers that have phased out the use of gestation stalls (small, enclosed pens) for housing confirmed pregnant sows.

See our latest Purpose & Impact Report for more on our goals and performance.


Our Strategy

We believe we have a responsibility to improve the health and welfare of animals in our supply chain and work with our global network of suppliers to actively encourage industry and cross-sector collaboration. To achieve a positive impact in this area, we engage recognized subject-matter experts and academia to access guidance and challenge the way we think. Taking a whole-system approach that considers everything from housing to humane slaughter, we leverage our global scale in local markets to help drive positive outcomes.

Supply Chain Compliance

Our programs and systems make McDonald’s animal health and welfare requirements clear for suppliers. For example, our:

  • Global Raw Material Sponsorship Program defines our annual food safety, animal health and welfare, and social workplace accountability requirements for all raw material suppliers of beef, chicken and pork.

  • Global Sustainable Sourcing Guide further outlines category-specific requirements, which are also embedded in our product Quality System Specifications.

  • Global and market Quality Systems teams are in frequent contact with our suppliers, reviewing their performance to ensure policies are properly implemented and consistently met.

  • McDonald’s animal health and welfare standards are defined for each species and verified through recurring independent audits of approved slaughterhouses. Where these audits find non-compliance, we work with the supplier to enhance their practices and implement robust and sustainable corrective action plans.

Standards to Ensure Humane Slaughter of Beef, Chicken and Pork

We believe it is essential that every animal in our supply chain is treated humanely throughout its life.

As a global company, we comply with religious slaughter requirements, including Halal and Kosher, when required by our customers. With the exception of a limited number of markets that do not allow stunning prior to slaughter for religious reasons, all animals within our supply chain are stunned before slaughter. For animals subject to religious slaughter, McDonald’s religious Animal Health and Welfare standards are strictly observed.

Stunning animals to assure insensibility before slaughter is a critical animal welfare requirement. Regardless of stun method, any potential conscious animal observed at the point of slaughter constitutes an automatic audit failure. We immediately remove any supplier that fails to meet our stun effectiveness requirements from our approved supplier list.

cattle grazing in field

Focus on Beef

McDonald’s is a founding member of the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (GRSB) and strongly supports its process to achieve ambitious strides across a number of areas, including animal health and welfare. See our Responsible Sourcing page for examples of how we’re applying these core principles across our supply chain. For details of how we’re advocating for responsible antibiotic use in the beef industry, see our Responsible Antibiotic Use page.

Industry Collaboration With our Dairy Suppliers

We have aligned with the National Dairy FARM (Farmers Assuring Responsible Management) Animal Care Program in the U.S. Since 2018, all U.S. dairy suppliers have tracked the percentage of farms in their supply chains that have completed the FARM second-party evaluation. In 2021, McDonald’s USA achieved its 2020 commitment for all U.S. dairy product suppliers to be able to demonstrate that 100% of the farms in their supply chains satisfactorily participate in FARM Animal Care and have completed the required second-party evaluations.


Focus on Chicken

We formed the Chicken Sustainability Advisory Council (CSAC) in 2018 to inform our chicken welfare and sustainability strategies. The group includes welfare experts, suppliers, leading academics and researchers, as well as nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) such as the World Wildlife Fund.

McDonald’s is a founding member of the International Poultry Welfare Alliance (IPWA) and the U.S. Roundtable of Sustainable Poultry and Eggs.

For details of our global chicken antibiotics efforts, see our Responsible Antibiotic Use page.

Sourcing Broiler Chickens Raised With Improved Welfare Outcomes

McDonald’s takes an outcome-based, holistic approach to chicken sustainability – one that prioritizes animal health and welfare, while also balancing additional considerations such as environmental impacts.

In 2017, McDonald’s announced a global commitment to source chickens raised with improved welfare outcomes. To achieve this, we outlined eight Broiler Welfare Commitments in 13 of our key markets1, which are expected to be fully implemented by the end of 2024. The in-scope markets represented more than 58% of our global chicken supply as of the end of 2022.

Our eight commitments to broiler welfare include:

  1. Establishing and convening the McDonald’s CSAC.

  2. Measuring key farm-level welfare outcomes.

  3. Developing state-of-the-art welfare measurement technology.

  4. Providing enrichments to support natural behavior.

  5. Running commercial trials to study the effects of certain production parameters on welfare outcomes.

  6. Utilizing CAS in the U.S. and Canada.

  7. Implementing third-party, on-farm auditing.

  8. Completing an assessment to measure the feasibility of extending these commitments to additional global markets where McDonald’s operates.

To see additional detail and latest progress on each commitment, please read more in our latest Purpose & Impact report

I think its one of the most comprehensive corporate programs I have seen for chickens because it includes welfare, environmental enrichment and sustainability.”

Dr. Temple Grandin, animal welfare expert and livestock researcher who pioneered humane slaughterhouse practices

Focus on Pork

Sourcing Pork Responsibly

As of the end of 2022, more than 91% of our pork purchased in the U.S. comes from suppliers that have phased out the use of gestation stalls for housing confirmed pregnant sows. This marks continued significant progress on our journey to maximize the time that pregnant sows spend in a group environment. Our commitment is guided by the industry- and American Association of Swine Veterinarians (AASV)-endorsed definition for group housing for pregnant sows. McDonald’s currently buys nearly 175 million pounds of pork associated with producers that house pregnant sows in groups.

Since announcing the commitment in 2012, McDonald’s and our supplier partners have worked diligently to meet this goal and remain dedicated to achieving it, engaging with industry-wide stakeholders to share our vision with an ongoing focus on driving progress at scale. In 2017, we reached a milestone to source pork for the U.S. business only from producers who share our commitment.

While McDonald’s targeted the end of 2022 for completion, industry-wide challenges for farmers and pork producers – such as the impacts from global outbreaks of African Swine Fever and the COVID-19 pandemic – delayed progress and interrupted business. By the end of 2022, our adjusted expectation was that 85–90% of our U.S. pork volumes would be sourced by suppliers from producers in conformity with our commitment, representing material progress against our original 10-year timeframe. We have since surpassed that expectation, reaching 91% as of the end of 2022.

Phasing out the use of gestation stalls for the purpose of housing pregnant sows in the U.S. is a goal that remains vital to McDonald’s business and builds on our decades-long commitment to animal health and welfare. We remain committed to this journey, and we are on track to achieve our U.S. target by the end of 2024.

We will continue to transparently communicate progress on this target, in close collaboration with our suppliers. For details of our efforts to drive responsible antibiotics use in pork supply chains, see our Responsible Antibiotic Use page.


1 Broiler welfare: These commitments apply to chickens raised for sale at McDonald’s restaurants in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Ireland, the Netherlands, Poland, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, the U.K. and the U.S. Russia has been removed from the scope of this goal based on our 2022 exit from this market.

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