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7 Things McDonald's Really Wants You to Forget

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's Health Issues page, CAFO's vs. Free Range page and our Breaking The Chains page.

It's news that few can believe. Profits at McDonald's fell an astounding 30 percent during the third quarter and have been slumping for four quarters. The unexpected profit nose dive at the world's largest restaurant chain is attributed to competition from other food chains, price hikes on some products and troubling developments overseas. Specifically, a McDonald's supplier in China was recently shown changing food expiration dates on meat products and nine McDonald's restaurants were shuttered by authorities in Russia for political reasons.

Will McDonald's, which serves an astonishing 27 million people in the U.S. a day, reverse its Wall Street slide? Probably. Since its founding in the 1940s, McDonald's has overcome worse, including activists decrying its treatment of workers, animals and the environment, the international community opposing its trade practices and public health experts condemning its unhealthy food.

Still, here are some faux pas moments the burger giant would prefer you not remember, including ones that led up to this quarter's profit slide.

1. McCruelty to Animals

Because McDonald's is the largest purchaser of beef and pork in the U.S and the second-largest purchaser of chicken, it perpetuates the horrors of factory farming and is also in a position to reform them. One-fourth of all breakfasts eaten in restaurants in the U.S., for example, come from McDonald's. Following the launch of PETA's original  McCruelty campaign in 2000, "McDonald's made some basic animal welfare improvements," says the animal rights group but, "Since that time, the company has refused to eliminate the worst abuses that its chickens suffer, including abuses during slaughter."

Last year,  shocking video of cruelty obtained by Mercy For Animals at the McDonald's supplier Sparboe Egg Farms in Litchfield, Minnesota, showed the public where its Egg McMuffins are actually coming from. Hens at Sparboe, which was producing all the eggs used by McDonald's west of the Mississippi River, were shown trapped and mangled in cage wire, some with open wounds, the dead among the living. Workers were shown grabbing, ramming and tormenting the birds and throwing young chicks in plastic bags to suffocate.

"Based upon recent information, we have informed our direct supplier, Cargill, that we are no longer accepting eggs from its supplier, Sparboe,"  said McDonald's after viewing the video. "This decision is based on McDonald's and Cargill's concern regarding the management of Sparboe's facilities." But Mercy For Animals executive director Nathan Runkle termed the decision "too little, too late."

Runkle seems to be right. On its website, McDonald's  answers the question, "Why don't you use cage-free eggs?" with this: "In the U.S., there is no consensus or firm scientific research on whether one type of housing system is better than the other, which leads to a lot of confusion."

Do we need scientific research to know that see mangled, pinned and dead birds in battery cages is wrong?