This Monday, April 24, 2017, photo shows a McDonald's restaurant in downtown Pittsburgh. McDonald's Corp. reports earnings Tuesday, Oct. 24, 2017. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

INTERNATIONAL - McDonald's will require suppliers to follow new standards for raising and slaughtering chickens served in its restaurants, the company said on Friday, the latest changes affecting popular menu items like McNuggets.

Animal activists said the mandates fall short of commitments made by other restaurants, such as Burger King and sandwich chain Subway, and failed to address their primary concern about chicken production: birds bred to grow quickly to large sizes. 

Under McDonald’s updated guidelines, suppliers such as Tyson Foods and Cargill must comply by 2024 with rules dictating the amount and brightness of light in chicken houses, provide birds with access to perches, and take other steps to improve animal welfare. 

- REUTERS