On October 19, the Environment & Animal Society of Taiwan (EAST) unveiled the results of its first animal welfare benchmark of the fast food industry. The benchmark ranks Taiwan’s five leading multinational fast food companies on their treatment of laying hens.
The companies were assessed by three criteria: the publication of a cage-free sourcing policy (50%), whether the policy timeline is in-sync with the chain’s policies in other countries (30%) and their current cage-free sourcing status (20%).
SUBWAY came in first place in the benchmark, having pledged to end its use of cage eggs in Taiwan by 2025. KFC and Burger King tied for second place, committing to phase out cage eggs by 2030.
McDonald’s and MOS Burger performed worst in the benchmark; neither chain has committed to eliminate cage eggs from their supply chain in Taiwan.
“McDonald’s and MOS Burger claim to value food safety and corporate social responsibility, but continue to ignore consumer demands to move away from cruel cage eggs” remarked EAST researcher Fang Chu Chune.
Who will be first?
The benchmark comes soon after EAST asked Taiwan’s fast food chains “Who will be the first to go cage-free?”, daring the companies to do the right thing by animals.
The campaign, titled Fly With Me, featured dance mobs outside restaurant outlets and a video report by respected journalist Fan Chi-Fei which amassed more than 80,000 views. Taiwanese fast casual chain THEFREEN BURGER also joined the campaign, urging its peers to follow its lead and drop cage eggs.
Animal welfare ignored amidst rising revenues
Taiwan's fast food industry takes in NTD $300 million per month from credit card spending alone, with revenues continuing to grow despite the pandemic. Despite their poor showing, McDonald’s and MOS Burger boast the highest revenues of the companies surveyed.
Internationally, McDonald’s has announced cage-free sourcing policies covering 63 markets. However, for the past six years the company has deflected questions about its egg use in Taiwan by claiming it is ‘evaluating its supply chain.’
Meanwhile, MOS Burger has gone from leading the industry to active retreat. From 2015 to 2018, MOS Burger’s use of ‘animal welfare eggs’ grew steadily to a high of 24%. However, MOS Burger’s latest CSR report shows cage-free egg procurement has slumped to half the amount of four years earlier, defying growing consumer concern for animal welfare.
Fang Chu Chune, Researcher
Environment & Animal Society of Taiwan (EAST)
Mobile: +886 (9) 2317 7193
Phone: +886 (2) 2236 9735
Translated by Karen Lu