Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The Influencers

When it comes to changing the standards that are established in any industry, you have to consider who the big players are and who really wields influence. When it comes to pork production, a company like McDonald's can be a force to be reckoned with.

In February, McDonald's announced that they will begin working with pork suppliers to phase out "gestational crates," the tiny stalls where pregnant sows are stalled. These crates have been targeted by animal rights activists as inhumane, and a number of states have restricted or banned their use.

These crates are approximately two feet by seven feet, too small for a pregnant sow to turn around in. This can cause several health issues for the pregnant sow over the course of a four month pregnancy.

McDonald's purchases one percent of the pork produced in the US, but other fast food chains have historically followed their lead when it comes to these types of changes.

This is just one step on a road to a larger solution, but it is important that the companies and organizations who have the power to influence the use of inhumane practices use that power to change things. Social media and the increase in citizen journalism has made it possible for customers to have a more direct link to businesses and that has led to some important changes. Companies have responded to what their customers are saying. And that means each of us has a little more power than we used to.

Individually we can't do much, but working together much can be accomplished.

1 comment:

  1. This is a really interesting post, Amber. I appreciate knowing that McDonald's tries to wield power for good, even if it takes social media to apply the pressure. I agree, it's a whole new world and people really do have the power now to make a difference.