CVS Health, has accelerated progress toward its commitment to selling 100% cage-free eggs and egg products, which will now happen by year-end 2022. The company had initially pledged to be cage-free across its 9900 retail locations by 2025. The new commitment accelerates the timeline by three years, so countless hens in the supply chains of its stores will no longer suﬀer in cages.
“We applaud CVS for recognizing that they could switch to cage-free eggs much quicker than anticipated and taking that signiﬁcant step to reduce the suﬀering of egg-laying hens as soon as possible,” says Vicky Bond, President of The Humane League. “Socially responsible companies like CVS will no longer source eggs hens kept in cruel battery cages, and we hope that Walgreens will follow their lead and do the same.” Walgreens, the ﬁfth-largest retailer in the U.S., has pledged to sell only cage-free eggs by 2025 but has not publicly reported progress against its goal.
Prior to making this animal welfare policy commitment, CVS Health consulted with The Humane League, a global animal protection nonproﬁt with a mission to end the abuse of animals raised for food. The Humane League focuses on changing the way the world’s biggest companies treat animals by setting new standards for corporate animal welfare policies. This work has been instrumental in securing many of the more than 500 cage-free pledges made by North American food companies.
Why go cage-free?
Conﬁned hens live in cramped, ﬁlthy cages with six to ten other birds—each with no more room than the space of an iPad. The cages are so small and crowded that hens cannot engage in their natural or instinctive behaviors. Often, their bodies are caught in the caging, resulting in fractured or broken bones, deformities, and severe feather loss. Some hens, unable to move, end up trampled to death by their cage mates. Eliminating cage systems signiﬁcantly improves the wellbeing of the hens raised in supply chains. While there is more to be done to make long-term changes to their quality of life, this is a signiﬁcant ﬁrst step for egg-laying hens.
As consumer demand for cage-free eggs continues to grow, companies have been abandoning cages around the world. More than 2,000 cage-free commitments, 100 of which are global policies, to end the use of battery cages have been made by some of the largest companies in the world, including Nestlé, Aldi, InterContinental Hotels, Sodexo, Kraft Heinz, Compass Group, Shake Shack, Famous Brands, Costa Coﬀee, Burger King, Dunkin’, Krispy Kreme, Unilever, and Barilla. Follow along with the cage-free movement on Twitter @GlobalCageFree.