The Executive Board approved a recommendation from the Legislative Advisory Committee for the AVMA to attempt to work with the McDonald's Corporation as it develops and refines its Animal Welfare Guiding Principles.
Under considerable pressure from animal rights and welfare organizations, McDonald's initiated an animal welfare program in 1997, the first of its kind in corporate America. It has since hired leading animal agriculture consultant, Temple Grandin, PhD, to advise the corporation as it establishes welfare standards and an onsite audit system for its beef suppliers.
This past year, McDonald's established the Animal Welfare Council, comprising nationally recognized experts in the field.
Producers are concerned that McDonald's standards are the "tip of the iceberg," noting that other restaurants and retailers will propose their own standards, which could lead to legislatively mandated standards.
The AVMA supports production practices that are humane and scientifically sound. To this end, the Legislative Advisory Committee suggested pursuing a relationship with McDonald's to identify and address research gaps, and to provide veterinary expertise as the welfare program proceeds.
Dr. Leonard Tinney, District IV, said he hoped the board's approval would set a precedent for the AVMA to get involved on all animal welfare committees created by food corporations like McDonald's.