A new relationship with animals, nature and each other.

McRibs Are Made of Fibs

New exposé of the ‘ideal’ living conditions of McDonald’s pigs

“Even your dreams dream about this,” says McDonalds about the return of this “fantastically flavorful,” “sweetly scrumptious,” “sensationally savory” pork sandwich.

McDonalds also touts its supplier, Smithfield Foods as being “100 percent committed to … animal care.”

The facts say otherwise. The Humane Society of the U.S. has filed a legal complaint against Smithfield Foods, citing an undercover operation in which it uncovered gestation crates that cause mother pigs to suffer “from open pressure sores and other ulcers and wounds” and “abscesses sometimes formed from simple scratches due to ever-present bacteria.”

Female pigs were crammed into these gestation crates, which prevent them from even turning around or lying down, for most of their lives. Crates were coated in blood from the mouths of pigs chewing the metal bars of their crates.

The HSUS also reported that a sick pig was shot in the head with a captive bolt gun and thrown into a dumpster while still alive, that prematurely born piglets routinely fell through the gate’s slats into a manure pit, that castration and tail docking took place without anesthesia, and that employees tossed baby pigs into carts as if they were stuffed animals. The investigator saw many lame pigs but never a vet.

“It doesn’t take a veterinarian to know that locking a 500-pound animal in a cage so cramped she can’t even turn around for months on end isn’t exactly ‘ideal,’” said Paul Shapiro, senior director of farm animal protection at HSUS.

Smithfield responded to the HSUS by asserting that “we are proud of our unparalleled track record as a sustainable food producer and stand confidently behind our company’s public statements concerning animal care and environmental stewardship.”

What’s in a McRib?

If the cruelty alone is not enough to turn anyone off eating a McRib, the idea of meat produced under such conditions should give one pause as to its food value.

And it’s not just the meat. What else is in one of these McRib sandwiches? Just some lettuce, tomato and a pickle? Think again!

Apart from the “restructured meat product,” there are 70 ingredients, according to Time magazine’s Meredith Melnick, including ammonium sulfate, calcium sulfate, ethoxylated mono- and diglycerides polysorbate 80, and azodicarbonamide, a flour-bleaching agent that’s banned in Europe and Australia and is “most commonly used in the manufacture of foamed plastics like gym mats and the soles of shoes.”