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McDonald’s free-range change is plenty to crow about

Monday, 13 July, 2015

SPCA New Zealand congratulates McDonald’s New Zealand, which today announced it will only serve free-range eggs in all its restaurants by the end of next year.

“This is a huge step in the right direction by a company that purchases nearly 13 million eggs every year – that’s a significant percentage of all the eggs produced in New Zealand,” says Ric Odom, CEO of SPCA New Zealand.

“So this commitment from McDonald’s will provide a real boost to free-range egg production in New Zealand and enable more farmers to transition to free-range with the confidence of knowing there is a strong demand for their products. At the end of the day, this is all good news for New Zealand chickens.”

The McDonald’s restaurants in Christchurch and Dunedin have used only free-range eggs since 2009. The eggs for these 18 restaurants are sourced from two farms: Zeagold, located near Dunedin, and Otaika Valley Free Range Eggs, located near Whangarei. Otaika Valley Free Range Eggs is an SPCA Blue Tick accredited operation.

“The SPCA Blue Tick certifies that products have been farmed to the SPCA’s high animal welfare standards, which are more stringent than the free-range standards under the Government’s Code of Welfare,” says Mr Odom.

“Only eggs from barn-raised and free-range hens that have been produced under conditions that meet or exceed our standards get to carry the SPCA Blue Tick. AsureQuality regularly audits every operation we accredit to make sure our standards are still being met.

“We would like to take this opportunity to encourage McDonald’s to ensure all its suppliers of free-range eggs also carry the SPCA Blue Tick to reassure consumers that the eggs are genuinely free-range and the chickens that laid the eggs have been humanely cared for.”

The move by McDonald’s comes in response to concerns from their customers about the use of caged hen eggs, which Mr Odom says reflects concerns in the wider community and shows consumer attitudes can influence the activities of even large companies.