Walgreens, the second-largest healthcare, pharmacy, and retail chain in the United States, has accelerated progress toward its commitment to sell 100% cage-free shell and liquid eggs by 2025 to year-end 2022. This new public commitment accelerates the timeline for cage-free eggs across its 9,102 US retail locations by three years, so hens in the supply chains of its stores will no longer suﬀer in cages.
“We applaud Walgreens for its decision to switch to cage-free eggs much sooner than initially planned. This step will reduce the suﬀering of countless egg-laying hens,” says Vicky Bond, President of The Humane League. “Socially responsible companies like Walgreens will no longer source eggs from hens kept in cruel battery cages, and we hope that companies like Rite Aid will follow the lead of Walgreens and CVS, which also pledged to sell only cage-free eggs by the end of this year.”
This commitment comes after weeks of pressure from The Humane League and consumer outcry for Walgreens to fulﬁll its cage-free commitment. The Humane League focuses on changing how 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 well-being 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 around 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.