McDonald’s announced this week that it would begin buying 12 million cage-free eggs a year, meaning about 50,000 fewer hens will know the confines of a battery cage. In the last few years, California and Michigan have enacted important cage-free reforms; Washington and Oregon have pending ballot measures on the topic; and many major food purveyors have adopted policies to start switching to cage-free eggs.
Two recent books, and all of the other activity on farm animal issues, are markers of a national movement to re-examine where our food comes from, to assess the economic and non-economic costs of industrial animal agriculture, and imagine ways of doing better.
A few weeks ago, President-elect Barack Obama announced that former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack would be his selection for Agriculture Secretary, disappointing at least some of the interest groups focused on a food reform agenda for the U.S. Department of Agriculture and continuing his pattern . . .