Fast-food chain McDonald’s closes all of its more than 1,200 locations in the United Kingdom and Ireland today at 7 pm Greenwich Mean Time (GMT)—halting the consumption of countless animals. The chain previously operated under a takeout and delivery model but announced its decision to close on social media as a precaution amid COVID-19—which is thought to have started at a “wet” animal market in Wuhan, China last year and has since spread globally. “This is not a decision we are taking lightly, but one made with the well-being and safety of our employees in mind, as well as in the best interest of our customers,” the company posted on Instagram. “We will work with local community groups to responsibly distribute food and drink from our restaurants in the coming days.” 

Last year, McDonald’s debuted its first vegan Happy Meal option to all its UK locations which featured a wrap meatless chicken fingers, a choice of carrot sticks or a pineapple sticks as a side option, and water or juice as a drink option, along with a similar adult version of the wrap.

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