Sodexo, the world’s second largest food service company with operations in 80 countries, announced today that it will phase in the exclusive use of cage-free eggs (liquid and shell) for its global supply chain by 2025, and we hope sooner. The announcement comes just over a year after Sodexo pledged to switch all 20 million pounds of liquid eggs used in its operations in the United States to cage-free over the next five years: a decision that would remove 750,000 hens from battery cages per year. This dramatic expansion of that pledge is expected to improve the lives of over a million hens each year, and Sodexo made the commitment in cooperation with Humane Society International, The Humane League, and Compassion in World Farming.
Around the world, egg-laying hens are often confined for their whole lives in wire battery cages so small that they cannot even fully stretch their wings. Thankfully, we are moving away from these cruel systems and The HSUS and HSI have played a big role in making this happen. This past December, Humane Society International worked with Grupo Bimbo, the largest bakery company in the world, to announce a commitment to only source cage-free eggs globally. Unilever and other leading companies have done the same.
The use of conventional battery cages for laying hens has been banned under laws throughout the European Union. A majority of states in India, the world’s third largest egg producer, have declared that the use of battery cages violates the country’s animal welfare legislation, and the country is considering a national ban.
Cage-free legislation and corporate policy reform are sending a clear message to the global food retail sector that cage confinement should never be on the menu. It’s not a United States or an EU policy, but a global one. No nation should tolerate this systemic mistreatment of hens. So many companies and nations should celebrate Sodexo’s compassionate action and poach it in short order.