Advocates for the humane treatment of farm animals would like you to think about how the hen whose eggs went into your McMuffin sandwich was tortured (she was kept in a cage with barely room enough to turn, for starters). We live in a world of maple syrup-injected breakfast sandwich buns and .99 cent value menus, so asking a corporation to stop to consider ethics might be a stretch.
As Gourmet reports, the Humane Society of the united States plans to introduce a measure at McDonald's shareholder meeting in May to put pressure on the fast-food giant to serve only cage-free eggs. But it has stared by showing people just what battery cages look like, and calls the 280 million laying hens kept in them "arguably the most abused animal in all of agribusiness."
Yes, some small national supermarkets such as Whole Foods sell only cage-free eggs, as do a few regional chains, but the impact of the mass conglomerates using them would have a significant impact on industry standards. Burger King, Hardees, Denny's and Carl's Jr. have made moderate moves toward using cage-free eggs, but if a chain like McDonald's banned battery-cage eggs... well, over how ever many billion McMuffins they've served, that'd be something.
And if McDonald's and others don't change industry practices and continue to debate whether or not there are problems with battery eggs — "there remains disagreement among scientists globally about how to balance the pros and cons of each laying hen housing system," the company said in a statement — consider that it's probably cheaper for you to make your own sandwich at home with whatever kind of eggs you choose for yourself. The eggs at the Greenmarket are going to taste better than whatever McDonald's serves no matter what. Of course, if you make your own, it likely won't shoot syrup.