McDonald, which has its headquarters in the Chicago suburb of Oak Brook, told suppliers Monday it is seeking to eliminate the use of gestational crates -- small stalls used to house pregnant sows, often decried as inhumane by animal rights groups. About 70 percent of the nation's pork is produced using this practice, the Chicago Tribune reported.
As other fast-food chains have adopted similar measures, McDonald's could push the industry standard towards more humane practices. Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc., a chain based in Denver in which McDonald's once held a majority stake, took the lead 12 years ago, by requiring its suppliers to stop the use of gestational crates. Since 2007, Wendy's has given preferred business to suppliers that do not use them.
Wayne Pacelle, president of The Humane Society, said the move by McDonald's "is awfully significant, and we expect it will have a catalytic effect within the fast-food sector and other segments of the retail industry."