Activists Blast Reading Festival Over 'Environmentally And Ethically Disastrous' McDonald's Partnership

The Humane League has sent an open letter to the festival's organizer, calling on it to ditch the partnership until the fast food giant improves its welfare standards
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The Humane League says chickens used by McDonald's are subject to horrific suffering (Photo: Animal Equality)

The Humane League says chickens used by McDonald's are subject to horrific suffering (Photo: Animal Equality)

An international campaign group has blasted the Reading Festival for its plans to give away free McDonald's chicken nuggets to festival-goers.

The Humane League says the partnership is 'environmentally and ethically disastrous', citing food waste issues and McDonald's history of poor animal welfare.

The group will attend the three-day festival, which starts today, urging visitors and performers alike to 'boycott the McNuggets van in favor of kinder, more sustainable foods'. 

Open letter

In addition, the Humane League has sent an open letter to organizer Festival Republic, calling on it to 'commit publicly to not partnering with McDonald's until it agrees to take meaningful action for chickens in its supply chain'.

The letter is part of a long-running campaign by The Humane League against the fast-food giant, which it says has 'failed to take meaningful steps to protect the millions of birds used in its meals each year'.

According to the League, other companies have taken steps to tackle these welfare issues, but McDonald's has not yet responded to a petition launched in support of the campaign.

'Protecting the planet'

"At a time when other festivals are taking steps to limit their environmental impact, Reading has decided to fly in the face of such progress," Managing Director of The Humane League UK, Vicky Bond, said in a statement sent to Plant Based News

"It makes bold statements about sourcing foods with 'the highest standards of welfare possible' and reducing food waste, and yet its actions do not match its words. Not only has McDonald's failed to make basic welfare improvements for chickens but in giving away masses of free chicken, it is significantly contributing to food waste.

"At other festivals where McDonald's has done this giveaway, we have seen cartons of uneaten nuggets abandoned on the ground. Does Festival Republic think that life is this cheap and that our planet is not worth protecting? Is this the reputation it wishes to create for itself?"

Plant Based News has contacted Reading Festival for comment.