The McRib sandwich appears once a year at McDonalds restaurants - and that's one time a year too many for the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). The HSUS alleges that the suppliers of the McRib sandwich engage in cruel and inhumane practices with regard to the treatment and conditions of the pigs used to create the sandwich, according to the UK Daily Mail.
The major fast-food sandwich chain obtains the meat used in its barbecue pork sandwich from Smithfield Foods. Agents working with the HSUS obtained video of the inadequate, cramped conditions of the pigs at the Smithfield Foods facility. The video obtained by the HSUS shows the pigs - weighing upwards of 500 pounds - cramped into cages so small they cannot turn around or move. The Los Angeles Times reports that many of the pigs were covered in blood.
As a result of what the animal rights organization deems inadequate, cruel and inhumane circumstances, the HSUS has filed a complaint with the Security and Exchange Commission. The complaint doesn't directly address the cruelty. Instead, the legal complaint against the McRib meat supplier alleges misrepresentation of the company's practices - a federal violation.
In response to the lawsuit, Smithfield Foods has issued a statement vowing to remove the offending stalls by 2017 - not soon enough for many animal welfare activists. McDonald's also released a statement in support of the filing - stating that their corporate polices disavow animal cruelty in any form. The letter, as released to ABC News, also states the corporation's continued support for Smithfield Foods as it works to remedy the inadequate conditions.
Smithfield Foods didn't take the lawsuit laying down. Just one day after the lawsuit was filed, the company launched a Twitter campaign to promote their new website outlining their commitment to animal welfare and environmental accountability. An article published in the Virginian Pilot suggests that the campaign may have backfired - most of the tweeters were more interested in Smithfield's disgusting treatment of livestock.
How do you feel about the treatment of the pigs used to make the McRib sandwiches? Do you think McDonald's stance is enough, or should they find another supplier for the McRib pork? Should Smithfield Foods face harsh penalties for the suffering of their livestock, or is the misrepresentation of their practices really the bigger issue?