The bovine of Micky D's

I was discussing the foot (hoof) and mouth disease that is currently plaguing our bretheren across the big pond. As I meandered through the conversation I raised two questions which couldn’t be readily answered:

  1. How many cows/steers does McDonald’s go through in a year?

  2. Would McDonald’s remain open if a moratorium was impose on American beef? If so, what would they sell?

According to this page (from a trial transcript), McDonald’s used 225,791 metric tonnes of beef in the US (in 1994 or so). This site says “although an average cow weighs in at 550 kilos, less than 45 kilos are used for hamburger.” A metric tonne is 1000 kg. So that works out to around 5 million cows a year. And that’s just for the US. Yikes!

Cecil Adams: How many cows are slaughtered each year to make McDonald’s hamburgers? The column was last updated about 1993.