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 “At Costco though, there’s no end in sight for this hideously outdated and cruel practice.”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.