A better world for farmed animals
Caged battery hens in a chicken farm in Catania, Sicily on October 29, 2005. (Getty Images)
February 25th, 2012
03:00 PM ET

A better world for farmed animals

Editor's Note: Jeff Mackey is a staff writer for the PETA Foundation. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) works to promote animal rights and mitigate cruelty toward animals.

By Jeff Mackey - Special to CNN

The announcement by fast-food giant McDonald's that it will require its U.S. pork suppliers to eliminate the use of gestation crates - 2-foot-wide cages designed to virtually immobilize pigs for the entirety of their pregnancies - is but one recent sign of the growing worldwide recognition that farmed animals are not mere machines for food production but living, feeling beings with concerns worthy of our consideration.

Because McDonald's is a leading restaurant chain, its decision to buy only from producers that don't use gestation crates is notable, but the company is in some ways behind the curve on this issue. The European Union (EU) has already banned the use of the crates, as have several U.S. states, and other notable companies, including HormelSmithfield Foods, and Maple Leaf Farms (the largest pork producer in Canada), had already begun the process of phasing them out.

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Topics: Animals • Law