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I love living in Boulder because of its progressive sustainability initiatives and healthy living environment, but there’s still a lot we can do as individuals to reduce the harmful impact we have on the Earth and fellow living beings on a global scale.

We’ve all heard horror stories about McDonald’s, from tales of suspicious toxic ingredients to lethal quantities of fat and sugar to the effects of the company’s corporate greed on its employees — and maybe most of us see a Happy Meal as a guilty pleasure because of this. But a recent campaign by a group of animal protection charities has exposed that the chickens in the McDonald’s supply chain are suffering in heartbreaking and unnecessary ways.

McDonald’s recently released an “improved” animal welfare policy that might look great to consumers on the outside but in reality does very little to improve the lives of the chickens they purchase. We consumers have a moral obligation to take a stand against this cruel treatment. The suppliers use chickens bred to grow so fast their legs break under their unnaturally heavy bodies, if they don’t die of heart diseases first. There is no requirement that they have access to sunlight or litter or perches. They are stocked so densely that they have no space of their own and are forced to breathe ammonia fumes from their own waste. Burger King, Subway, Jack in the Box, Sonic and over 80 other major food companies have mandated that their chicken suppliers implement policies that address these issues by 2024, but McDonald’s refuses to do the same.

The success of McDonald’s is built on the voices and decisions of customers like us. We can all oppose this animal cruelty by boycotting McDonald’s and spreading the word through our community. Boulder can do better than support this kind of cruelty-based industry.

Meagan Phillips, Niwot