Walmart, the largest grocer in the US, has announced a commitment to switch to 100% cage-free whole eggs by 2025.
Walmart’s largest merchandising category is groceries so consumers can expect this new policy to improve the lives of many millions of hens.
“The past six months has seen many cage-free egg announcements, but Walmart’s is the most influential with regard to laying hen welfare.
"We applaud Walmart for their progress and commitment to improve the lives of farm animal in their supply chain. As the largest retailer in the US, Walmart’s commitment will have firm ripple effects reaching far beyond our borders, particularly in the EU and Australia, for example, where retailers are starting to fall behind,” says Leah Garces, Compassion USA Director.
Compassion is proud to partner with Walmart on this effort along with other animal protection groups like the Humane Society of the United States and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
Since 2012, Compassion has been involved, through the Business Benchmark for Farm Animal Welfare, with benchmarking Walmart and other food businesses on a tiered scale based on their public farm animal welfare policies. Although Walmart was ranked less-than-favorably the first year, they have risen to Tier 3 in the most recent 2015 BBFAW report. Walmart continues to make meaningful strides toward ongoing improvement for farm animals.
In May 2015, Walmart published a position statement on farm animal welfare asking their suppliers to address concerns related to confinement and painful procedures including gestation crates for pigs, veal crates for calves, tail docking and castration, and battery cages for laying hens.
Food companies in the US have heard consumers loud and clear but this groundswell of corporate commitments to phase out cages for laying hens is one of the few areas where the UK is falling behind the US in terms of animal welfare.
If the world’s largest retailer, Walmart, can rid its supply chain of eggs from caged hens, there is simply no excuse for companies in any country to not follow suit. Asda, the second largest supermarket in Britain, is owned by Walmart and has yet to commit to phasing out cages for hens.
Garces continues, “Compassion in World Farming is pleased to see Walmart’s intention to take seriously the task of eliminating cages throughout their supply chain, and we will continue to work with them to ensure their deadline for 100% cage-free eggs is met or exceeded.”
Walmart’s announcement proves companies can do better for hens not just in the USA, but across the world.