Ana Ortiz Charges McDonalds with Cruelty to Animals and Workers

Ugly Betty star Ana Ortiz wrote to the National Council of La Raza (NCLR) on behalf of PETA, asking the national Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization to not partner with McDonald’s for any future events. In a letter to La Raza president and CEO Janet Murguia, the actress charges the fast food giant with disregard for animal welfare and slams it for its close ties to an industry that's notorious for exploiting Latino immigrants. Ortiz points out that poorly paid slaughterhouse workers—many of whom are Latino immigrants—face dismal working conditions that result from handling live, terrified birds. Many workers also receive few or no medical benefits.

"McDonald's has no regard for animals or for the people who are paid an unfair wage to kill them," writes Ortiz. "We urge you to avoid partnering with McDonald's for any future NCLR events.”

You can read Ortiz’s full letter to the NCLR below:

Dear Ms. Murguia,

I was shocked to learn that McDonald’s sponsored the National Council of La Raza’s (NCLR) 2009 conference in Chicago. As an organization dedicated to improving the lives of Hispanic Americans, you certainly must be aware that McDonald’s has very close ties to an industry that’s notorious for exploiting Hispanic immigrants—not to mention the fact that the company is responsible for the suffering and abuse of millions of animals every year.

The slaughterhouse is a dismal place for workers. The dim lighting and filthy air—which is filled with dust, debris, and feathers from terrified birds’ flapping wings—leads to accidents and injuries. Chickens struggle, peck, and scratch in resistance and frequently vomit and defecate as a result of stress. Poorly paid slaughterhouse workers—many of whom are Hispanic immigrants—usually receive no medical benefits despite their susceptibility to on-the-job injuries. Because companies will often fire these employees rather than pay for medical care, many workers do not seek treatment for their injuries out of fear of losing their jobs.

In addition, chickens killed for McDonald’s are dumped from their transport crates onto conveyor belts, and their fragile legs are forced into metal shackles. The birds are then dragged through an electric stun bath, which immobilizes the animals but does not render them insensible to pain. Their throats are cut by a spinning blade, however some birds are cut through their wings or torsos instead. Often severely mutilated but still conscious, the birds whose throats miss the cutting blade are then scalded to death in defeathering tanks.

McDonald’s has no regard for animals or for the people who are paid an unfair wage to kill them. We urge you to avoid partnering with McDonald’s for any future NCLR events; in addition, we hope that you will encourage the company to adopt the more humane slaughter methods currently available in order to improve the lives of workers and chickens. Thank you for your time and attention.

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