Across the country, a national movement away from using eggs from hens confined in cages has taken root: Kraft, Sara Lee, and Otis Spunkmeyer are switching millions of eggs in their products to cage-free; Hellmann’s mayonnaise announced plans to convert the 350 million eggs it uses in the U.S. to cage-free; Burger King, Subway, Sonic, Wendy’s, Arby’s, Denny’s, Carl’s Jr., Hardee’s, Quiznos, Cracker Barrel and Golden Corral are just some of the restaurant chains that use cage-free eggs; and Wal-Mart’s and Costco’s private brand eggs are exclusively cage-free.
With egg-laying hens in cages less than the size of an 8-1/2″ x 11″ piece of paper and veal calves in 22″ x 54″ crates that don’t allow them to turn around (which is the intended purpose—along with an iron-deficient diet, their muscles don’t have a chance to develop, creating the desired texture in the final product), just about any additional space is a step forward.
Barilla pasta will switch 45 percent of the eggs it uses to cage-free by the end of the year, according to the Humane Society. Barilla is the world’s largest pasta maker, and the transition will make it the first pasta company to join the growing cage-free movement.
- U.S. factory farms confine about 280 million hens in cages so small, they can’t even spread their wings. Extensive scientific research confirms this causes suffering.
- Cage-free hens generally have two to three times more space per bird than caged hens.
- Cage-free hens may not be able to go outside and, like caged hens, may have parts of their beaks cut off, but they can walk, spread their wings and lay their eggs in nests–all behaviors permanently denied to hens crammed into cages.
- Factory farming is a major social issue: A study by food industry consultancy, Technomic, ranked animal welfare as the third-most important social issue to restaurant patrons; an American Farm Bureau-funded report found that 89 percent of Americans believe that food companies that require their suppliers to treat farm animals better are doing the right thing.
Filed Under: Animal & Plant Life