Today, Unilever – one of the world’s largest food conglomerates – announced that it has fulfilled its pledge to go exclusively cage-free for eggs in all Hellmann’s and Best Foods mayonnaise products, three years ahead of schedule. The acceleration of its previously-stated cage-free timeline – which translates into more than a million birds a year out of cages — is a hopeful indicator that Unilever will be one of many food companies that execute on their pledges well ahead of their original time frame. Within the last two years, more than 200 companies – the biggest names in food retail in the United States and abroad – have committed to go cage-free, and egg producers know that they must move dramatically toward more extensive systems if they want to sell eggs.
Just a decade or two ago, this country seemed mired in a medieval mentality when it came to the treatment of animals. From tacit or outright toleration of animal-fight contests in some states; to the extreme confinement of chickens, sows, and veal calves on factory farms; to chimps being injected and infected for medical research; to testing cosmetic products by forcing them into the eyes of rabbits — appalling practices abounded.
But those times, they are a-changin’, and faster than anyone could have imagined just a few years ago.
Factory farm egg producers do not care about animal welfare, the quality of life, or the living conditions of the miserable animals in their care. They aren’t often inclined to change their cruel practices based on any sudden wave of compassion.
They will make changes now, either because their customers - the corporations that buy their eggs - are insisting that they do, or because new, compassionate state laws, like those in California, force them to.
What about their customers? - the corporations purchasing their eggs like MacDonald’s, Burger King, Subway, Starbucks, Panera, Denny’s, Taco Bell, Target, Wendy’s, just this week Trader Joes, and the list goes on…. These corporations have been sourcing factory farmed eggs for decades without batting an eye. What explains these recent changes in their procurement policies?
It’s because of their customers: It’s because of you.
Progress like this in the fight to end factory farming is a direct result of you, of consumers who are increasingly aware of and unwilling to purchase factory farmed meat and dairy products.
Of increasingly vocal, strident consumer demand for humanely-raised food products.
Of millions of petition signatures, millions of shares on social media of the videos and the reports revealing the deplorable reality of factory farming, its horrendous cruelty, its pervasive animal suffering, and of the health risks of food products which are products of that toxic pestilent environment.
Of millions of decisions made by individuals each day, not to purchase and consume the food products, as well as meals prepared from the food products of these companies, as long as they continue to source their ingredients from this industry horror-show.
They say birds of a feather flock together, and when it comes to the move toward cage-free eggs, more companies are flocking. Better late than never.
Jumping on the bandwagon this week are breakfast stalwart Denny’s second-tier Tex-Mex chain Taco John’s, and retail behemoth Target. While consumers might not have expected the first two to be the vanguard of promoting animal welfare, it may surprise some loyal fans of Target that the chain that likes to brand itself as the more “with it” alternative to Walmart has only now committed to switching to 100 percent cage-free eggs. Meanwhile, Walmart’s private-label Great Value eggs have been cage-free since at least 2010.
...Taken together, the rising number of commitments from corporations to go cage-free is poised to substantially transform the egg industry in the United States over the next decade. Fewer than 9 percent of egg-laying hens in the country...
This press release notes that “Farmers may have been slow to adopting more humane standards because humane farming costs more to do. But consumer demand for humanely-raised food products is showing farmers that transitioning to humane farming is worth the extra effort, both for their operations and the welfare of the animals.”
Progress like this in the fight to end factory farming is a direct result of you, of those of us at Farm Animal Compassionate Engagement, of all consumers who are increasingly aware of and unwilling to purchase factory farmed meat and dairy products.
And of companies like Chipotle, with compassion in their DNA, who will not hesitate to stop sourcing and serving pork that does not meet the company’s ‘Responsibly Raised’ standards.
DuBreton®, North America’s largest pork producer to raise 300,000 more crate-free pigs by 2018.
Humane Farm Animal Care (HFAC), the leading international nonprofit certification program improving the lives of millions of farm animals in food production, announced this week that 300,000 more pigs will be raised, without gestation stalls or traditional farrowing crates.
A Canadian dairy giant says it will no longer buy milk from farmers who mistreat their animals.
Quebec-based Saputo, one of the largest dairy processors in the world, announced its new policy Tuesday in the wake of an undercover video last year that showed workers at one of its suppliers viciously beating cattle.
There has been progress in the fight to end factory farming. Corrine Henn makes four such observations here and notes that “As more people are made aware of the horrible conditions that animals on factory farms are forced to endure, more are choosing not to support this cruel industry.”
Yes, consumer demand in the United States for meat has dropped since 2007. Yes, hundreds of millions fewer animals are slaughtered each year. However, a greater percentage of animals raised in America today than ever before are factory farm raised.
Take a walk down Candy’s Hall and watch Face Your Food or Glass Walls. Experience or reacquaint yourself with how horribly these animals suffer - for the entirety of their factory-farmed lives. Resolve to do something to help put an immediate end to factory farming.
A factory farm is a large industrialized farm in which large numbers of livestock are raised indoors in conditions intended to maximize production at a minimal cost. Today more than 99% of farm animals are raised in large industrial farms for food.
The growth of industrial farming has transpired in part because there is a lack of government regulation regarding the standards of care and treatment for livestock and animals. Unfortunately, maximizing production at a minimal cost usually comes at the expense of the welfare of the animals living there (not to mention the planet). Most live their entire lives indoors confined to spaces so small they’re unable to turn around and are subject to abuse that would be illegal if they were not considered “commodities” – rather than animals.
As more people are made aware of the horrible conditions that animals on factory farms are forced to endure, more are choosing not to support this cruel industry. When consumers learn the truth about where their cheap animal products come from, they become much less inclined to continue purchasing them. Some are even inspired to take action against the animal agriculture industry.
It takes a hard hitting campaign grounded in a fundamental, humane truth, and a sustained effort to pressure an intractable retail behemoth like Walmart, with its profit-above-all-else identity, to budge. Mercy For Animals presented senior Walmart executives – and Walmart customers – with unambiguous evidence of a horror story so distasteful: the institutionalized lifelong cruelty and suffering inflicted on hundreds of millions of factory farmed animals. A horror story that Walmart is responsible for perpetuating being one of the nation’s largest purchasers of factory farmed ‘product.’
Mercy For Animals did this so persuasively that Walmart executives elected not to deflect with tepid ‘solutions’ creating the cosmetic appearance that they are concerned about and acting on the problem.
Instead, Mercy For Animals announces that “Walmart has committed to ending many of the cruelest forms of institutionalized animal abuse in its supply chain, including the intensive confinement of pregnant pigs in gestation crates, baby calves in veal crates, and egg-laying hens in battery cages. Walmart is also working to end needless mutilations of animals without painkillers, such as castration, tail docking, and dehorning, and is moving toward less cruel slaughter methods. This is one of the most comprehensive animal welfare policies ever, signaling an important new era and direction for the company and marking a landmark day for the protection of farmed animals in America. “
Congratulations to Mercy For Animals for accomplishing this.
May 22, 2015 — Today, Walmart—the nation’s largest food retailer responsible for 25 percent of grocery sales in the U.S.—announced a groundbreaking commitment to improving farmed animal welfare across its entire global supply chain.
Take a look at this. This is a significant victory. Please understand the power of petitions, of legislation, of people uniting behind and taking action for a cause they know is right. Recognize your power as an individual.
Over 130,000 of us signed this petition. That’s a lot of us. Our numbers are growing exponentially. We won. And we will win again and again until this treatment of animals worldwide becomes a thing of the past.
Feb 19, 2015 — In just a few short weeks, after hearing from hundreds of thousands of people like you, the second largest food service provider in the country is committing to a new animal welfare policy which will affect millions of animals for years to come - total phase-out of eggs from battery cages, banning veal crates, and a new policy on painkillers for dehorning, tail docking, and castration.
This historic victory is one of the largest blows ever to battery cages and sets a new precedent for the industry.
You joined our campaign and made history. You made donations that made this possible. You signed the petition. You posted on Facebook. You tweeted. You made phone calls. YOU NEVER GAVE UP. AND IT WORKED!
Centerplate caters high profile events and describes itself as “one of the largest hospitality companies in the world.” It refused to stop procuring eggs from factory farm suppliers - eggs from hens cruelly kept crammed in tiny battery cages. When Amy Adams of Greenville South Carolina noticed that Centerville was based in her home state, she acted to try to change this.
She authored this petition and directed it to Centerplate’s President and CEO, Des Hague, its COO, Chris Verros, its CFO, Hadi Monavar, and its Media Contact, Ashley Luneburg.
On October 2, 2014, Amy announced “We did it! Centerplate has finally agreed to stop supporting the cruel practice of putting birds in tiny wire cages. They have also agreed to eliminate gestation crates for pregnant pigs in their supply chain. These improvements are due to the 64,000 compassionate people who signed my petition. Thanks to everyone who spoke up for these animals!”
California Ballot Proposition 2, voted for by 8,203,769 Californians in 2008, went into effect January 1st., 2015. Combined with State Law AB1437 they constitute one of the most important victories ever for animals and against factory farming.
These laws are impacting the poultry industry nationwide.
Proposition 2 is so well constructed and was so strongly embraced by Californians, several other states are attempting to enact similar legislation.
State Law AB1437 mandates that all poultry raised outside of California in horrendous cruel factory-farming conditions - like those now illegal in California - cannot be sold in California.
Celebrate not only this law going into effect, but just as significantly, the victory in court over the numerous legal challenges to this law made by state attorneys general on behalf of Big-Ag and the factory-farmed poultry industry:
As Carla Hall, reports in this article: "It’s fair to say that the Missouri attorney general just laid an egg. In fact, I’m just characterizing what a federal judge wrote in her dismissal of a lawsuit brought by Missouri against the state of California over an impending law that will require all out-of-state egg producers who want to sell their eggs in this state to meet the housing requirements for egg-laying hens that California producers will have to meet soon.
"U.S. District Court Judge Kimberly Mueller dismissed the lawsuit last week, saying the Missouri attorney general and the other big, egg-producing states that joined the suit didn’t have standing in this matter. And, she added: don’t come back to court, not on this."