Word broke yesterday, reported by Fox News, NPR, Quartz, and others, that the supermarket giant Costco has committed to an entirely cage-free future. “Costco is committed to going cage‐free for its egg procurement,” states the company’s website. “We are working with our suppliers toward a complete and sustainable transition to a cage-free supply chain.” Costco is a massive food seller, moving more eggs to customers than even McDonald’s, which made its own cage-free commitment public in September.
This has always been a good company, and my family has had a membership for years. I’m so encouraged by Costco’s decision to become the first mainstream grocery retailer to commit to a cage-free egg supply since Whole Foods Market did so nearly a decade ago. Based on the information we have, we’re very confident that Costco will reach that goal quickly. The company has already increased, in a dramatic way, the percentage of its eggs that are cage-free.
And it’s not just Costco and McDonald’s. Last week alone, the world’s largest food company (Nestlé), the world’s largest cruise liner (Carnival) and the world’s largest restaurant chain (Subway) also announced timelines for converting to 100 percent cage-free eggs. And again—that’s all just in one single week. Over the course of 2015, you’ve heard from me about so many other cage-free commitments—from Taco Bell to Starbucks to Aramark to Sodexo, and dozens more. Collectively, these companies use and sell billions of eggs each year, and that means they have an enormous role in how tens of millions of hens each year are treated.
In recent years, we’ve reached a number of tipping points in our work at The HSUS – outlawing cockfighting in all 50 states, establishing state-based, felony-level penalties for malicious cruelty throughout the United States, and ending the use of chimps in invasive experiments, among other milestones. I don’t quite know when we’ll see the last battery cage in operation, but 2015 was certainly the year when we knew that outcome became inevitable.