McDonalds was the pioneer in fast food, becoming part of American culture. However, was is the correct tense as McDonalds is currently battling the brand image of being unhealthy causing potential customers to shy away. And I have little doubt that their brand image battle is what stemmed this week’s announcement they would begin purchasing “verified sustainable beef” in 2016.
However, as McDonalds admits, there is no definition for sustainable beef.
I do commend McDonalds for reaching to ag industry partners to gain insight, yet I noticed that their advisory board lacks farmer and rancher members. However, I would be one to argue that farmers and ranchers are the very people who are best qualified to develop a definition. Farmers and ranchers have a rich history in maintaining sustainability of the land and livestock which both their family and business depend upon…and have for generations.
And while McDonalds aspirations are commendable – I’m at a loss for where the change would occur on farms and ranchers within McDonald’s new vision or approach…
Every beef farmer and rancher that I know MUST optimize their cattle’s impact within ecosystems and nutrient cycles to stay in business. They positively impact the lives of their employees, which many times are their own family, and their communities because it’s the right thing to do and because those are THEIR communities!
Also, farmers and ranchers MUST care for the welfare of the cattle throughout their lives which farmers do because it is the right thing to do for both the cattle and themselves. Handling the cattle with care, providing ample feed and water, and providing shelter and general care allow the cattle to be their best. The best cattle are a source of pride and livelihood for those who raise them.
I hope that McDonalds’ advisory board can and has expressed these points, and I hope that another brand image battle doesn’t place those who raise the beef I love and raise out to pasture once again.
Kassi Williams, farmers daughter