I’m excited to share with you another big step away from the cruelty of cage confinement of hens. Dunkin’ Donuts, one of the world’s top fast-food chains, is exploring the feasibility of transitioning to cage-free eggs globally for use in all of its food products. Even as it works toward this goal, as an immediate step, it will switch 10 percent of all eggs sourced for its breakfast sandwiches in the United States from cage-free operations by the end of next year. With more than 11,000 outlets, Dunkin’ Donuts’ commitments will be felt almost immediately within the egg industry.
Dunkin’ Donuts is also announcing that it will reach its pledge to eliminate gestation crate pork from its supply chain by 2022.
These steps are no surprise to The HSUS, because we’ve had a good, open dialogue with the company for years. This is the latest and most important, but certainly not the last step the company is taking to improve the lives of farm animals.
The HSUS is also excited to announce that Mondelez, one of the world’s largest snack food companies and the maker of Cadbury Crème Egg and Chips Ahoy!, is transitioning more of its eggs to cage-free operations, stating, “we want all eggs ultimately to be produced without cages.”
And last week, TrustHouse Services Group, a food service company that runs the dining operations at more than 675 accounts across the country (at colleges, universities, K-12 schools, etc.), announced that it’s switching all of its 10 million liquid eggs to cage-free. Mark Fortino, the company’s VP of operations, put it perfectly when he stated, “Eliminating battery cages within our supply chain is the right thing to do for the animals, family farmers, our company and our clients. This is a moral imperative.”
Mr. Fortino has it just right – it’s time to stop treating farm animals like objects and to recognize that they are living beings with feelings and emotions. Locking birds in small cages is an anachronism, and it’s time we take deliberate steps to put that practice in the rearview mirror. We’re seeing major food companies make announcements each week and beginning the societal process of upholding a more humane standard. This is good for animals, good for responsible farmers, and good for consumers.
We’ve also seen some remarkable commitments from egg producers to map out a future without cages. It’s now time for all major egg producers to get on board. Producers within the veal industry committed a number of years ago to end any use of confinement crates by 2017, and major pork producers like Cargill and Smithfield are phasing out gestation crates. Egg producers can do it too. With so many major food retailers planning to switch to cage-free eggs in the years ahead, it’s not only the right thing to do, it’s also the right business move.