The High Cost of Costco Cruelty

By on July 9, 2015 with 7 Comments By Wayne Pacelle

Today, The New York Times posted online—and it will run in tomorrow’s print edition— an opinion piece by comedian and political commentator Bill Maher titled, “Free the Hens, Costco!”

“Make no mistake about it: Battery cages torment animals,” writes Maher. “At Costco though, there’s no end in sight for this hideously outdated and cruel practice.”

That’s because Costco has failed to set a timeline for getting the chickens laying eggs for Costco shelves out of these cruel cages, despite having indicated nearly a decade ago that it would do so.

Maher’s New York Times piece follows on the heels of Ryan Gosling’s letter to Costco CEO Craig Jelinek, urging him to adopt a 100 percent cage-free egg policy. It also follows a full-page advertisement that The HSUS published last week in the Seattle Times (where Costco is based) asking, “Is something rotten with Costco’s eggs?” and another full-page ad we ran in the Financial Times.

In addition, tens of thousands of people have called Costco urging it to go cage-free. Millions have seen our social media posts on the topic. Countless people every day are posting notes on the company’s Facebook page asking Costco to get birds out of cages. And nearly half a million people—so far—have viewed our undercover video from a Costco egg supplier on YouTube.

Meanwhile, Costco remains silent on the question of whether it will do as it indicated it would in 2007 and create a path for a cage-free supply chain, or whether it will continue to relegate millions of these animals to lives of misery in cramped cages. The company has already set concrete timelines to end similarly cruel practices like veal crates and gestation crates from its veal and pork supply.

For a company that does miraculous things every day in delivering so many goods to consumers through its enormous network of stores, and had so much success at it, our ask doesn’t seem to be an enormous lift. And making a commitment to stop the severe confinement of animals in its supply chain is just the right thing to do, and a reasonable expectation with regard to any socially responsible company.

Tell Costco it’s time to go cage-free »

Categories
Farm Animals, Humane Economy

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7 Comments

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  1. Barbara Robarts says:

    I read that larger cages that are CA-SEFS compliant are actually more comfortable and safer for the chickens than many “cage free” condtions – in over crowded sheds. How do they compare? What does cage free really mean?

    How are eggs collected when hens are cage free?

  2. Monika Courtney says:

    Great to see this exposure on horrific animal exploitation by a grocer giant – who must adhere to new animal policy now, as these conditions reek of abuse and cruelty which is unacceptable. The public must apply pressure and demand change in high numbers, refuse to go to Costco and boycott the company until these poor chickens receive humane treatment. The deceptive packaging is a fraud to consumers. Call, email, even do a demo in front of a store on a public sidewalk – let them know you do not shop there until the hens are treated humane !

  3. GABRIELA VARGAS says:

    PARA COSTCO Y EMPRESAS SIMILARES, PARA LAS CUALES HEMOS SIDO CLIENTES DURANTE LARGOS PERÍODOS, NO CONSUMIREMOS MÁS PRODUCTOS EN SUS TIENDAS SI NO HACEN BIEN LAS COSAS, HABLO POR MUCHOS CIUDADANOS DE VARIEDAD DE PAÍSES, QUIENES YA ESTAMOS ENTERADOS DE SUS ATROCIDADES INDUSTRIALES; ESTAMOS CANSADOS DE LA CRUELDAD, LA ESCLAVITUD, EL ABUSO Y LA TORTURA PARA LOS ANIMALES DE GRANJA. ES ABSURDO SU COMPORTAMIENTO Y SU FILOSOFÍA DE COMERCIO COMO EMPRESA ME PARECE INFERNAL. DESEO REALMENTE QUE SE HAGA JUSTICIA Y COSTCO, ASÍ COMO TODA LA INDUSTRIA TAN CRUEL Y VIL QUE ES SEMEJANTE, TENGAN PÉRDIDAS SIGNIFICATIVAS EN POCO TIEMPO. LAS COSAS NO TIENEN QUE SER CON LA SEVERA CRUELDAD Y EL TERRIBLE ODIO CON EL QUE SUS TRABAJADORES TRATAN A LOS ANIMALES, ES INNECESARIO Y MONSTRUOSO.

  4. Rosemary Reager says:

    I agree with going cage free, but let’s be very aware of what cage free means. Simply removing the cages in the same amount of space does not solve the problem.

    Many producers and growers cram their hens in big sheds body to body, with no room to move and many often suffocate by other birds sitting on top of them.

    I hope this is not what we want either.

  5. Cara says:

    Battery cages are only one of the many problems for egg laying hens. Cage free only slightly improves their conditions. They still suffer miserably: crowding, filth, painful debeaking, calcium depletion and other stresses on the body from being bred to produce and lay unnaturally large numbers of eggs, forced molting, and in the end, when the egg industry has no more use for them, horrific transport and slaughter.
    I don’t think it helps the overall cause to mislead people into thinking that cage free means happy birds. Then they will continue to buy the eggs of tortured hens and ultimately support cruelty.
    And let’s not forget the male chicks who are useless in the egg industry and killed or left to die in unthinkable ways.

  6. Farris says:

    If you don’t like the way hens are treated rais your own. Most complain about the rise in egg prices but want better treatment of the chickens that not only cost more for the producers but what you want is not always the best for the birds

  7. Woodie Sayles says:

    I’m so upset that Costco has basically reneged on freeing caged hens. I switched from Sam’s Club to Costco because I wasn’t happy with the way Sam’s Club was treating it’s employees. They have now done a complete 180 on that, as well as Walmart making huge strides in the animal welfare area. Because of the caged hens, I will be looking into canceling my Costco membership and going back to Sam’s Club. We all have to hit Costco where it hurts the most – in the cash register.

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