Today, there’s a new and very big name pledging to join the cage-free movement: IHOP, the enormous breakfast restaurant chain known for its stacks of pancakes and variety of omelets.
Following discussions between The HSUS and DineEquity – which owns both IHOP and Applebee’s – the company has pledged to phase out all eggs from caged hens in these restaurants’ supply chain in favor of cage-free eggs. Between them, these food giants operate 3,500 restaurants. In fact, with 1,650 restaurants, we believe that IHOP alone rivals McDonald’s and even Costco, in terms of egg-buying volume.
“We’re committed to sourcing eggs and other ingredients in a responsible manner that meets our guests’ expectations, considers scientific principles and promotes the welfare of animals,” DineEquity CEO Julia Stewart said in a statement released today on the company’s website.
The website Eater this week has an in-depth look with illustrative photos about the rapid movement away from cage confinement. As you can see, cage-free is a significant improvement over cage confinement. It may not be cruelty-free, but it represents important progress that we as a movement welcome for the animals whose suffering these policies will ameliorate.
We are now well past a competitive tipping point on our battery cage campaign, when food retailers realize that it’s simply impossible not to be part of this trend. With so many big companies making pledges to get out of the cage-confinement business, it’s up to the egg industry to dramatically overhaul its production systems to supply this ubiquitous demand for cage-free eggs. Consumers can help push it along by asking every company they patronize when they’ll get only cage-free eggs on the menu or on the shelf. When it’s all done, we’ll have ended one of the most inhumane confinement systems developed in the era of factory farming.