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June 25, 2009

Red Robin Hatches Cage-Free Egg Policy

The Humane Society of the United States

National restaurant chain Red Robin Gourmet Burgers, Inc., with more than 300 locations in 40 states, has hatched a new animal welfare policy: a switch to cage-free eggs.

According to Red Robin's new plan, the Greenwood Village, Colo.-based chain will exclusively use cage-free eggs in all U.S. company-owned stores by the end of 2010. Red Robin's phase-in will begin next month, and will be one-third complete by the end of 2009.

Red Robin is also in the process of working with pork suppliers to phase in gestation crate-free pork at company-owned locations.

Most egg-laying hens in the United States are confined in tiny battery cages where they can barely move. Each bird has less space than a sheet of paper on which to spend more than a year before she's slaughtered. Other national chains that have begun moving away from battery cage eggs include Burger King, Wendy's, Quiznos, Hardee's and Carl's Jr.

"The Humane Society of the United States applauds Red Robin for joining the national movement away from cruel battery cages," said Paul Shapiro, senior director of The HSUS' factory farming campaign. "We look forward to working with the company to continue raising the bar when it comes to animal welfare."

Susan Lintonsmith, Red Robin senior vice president and chief marketing officer, said, "Red Robin's high standards for quality and unsurpassed Guest service remain our top priorities. We recognize that the elimination of battery cages in egg production has become an increasingly important issue in the communities we serve, so we're excited about our progress towards a supply chain in which all of our eggs are cage-free eggs."

"We sincerely appreciate the insights and ideas that The Humane Society of the United States has shared with Red Robin," said Lintonsmith. "We are pleased with their support for our battery cage-free egg commitments and look forward to continuing our dialog with the Humane Society on animal welfare issues."

Facts

  • In a landslide vote last Election Day, Californians enacted the Prevention of Farm Animal Cruelty Act — a law criminalizing confinement of hens in battery cages, pigs in gestation crates and calves in veal crates.
  • U.S. factory farms confine about 280 million hens in barren battery cages so small, they can't even spread their wings or walk. Scientific research confirms this causes suffering.
  • Cage-free hens generally have two to three times more space per bird than caged hens. Cage-free hens may not be able to go outside and may have parts of their beaks cut off, but they can walk, spread their wings and lay their eggs in nests — all behaviors permanently denied to hens crammed into battery cages.
  • Retailers such as Safeway, Whole Foods Market, Burger King, Hardee's and Carl's Jr. have also implemented policies either reducing or eliminating their use of battery cage eggs.

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The Humane Society of the United States is the nation's largest animal protection organization — backed by 11 million Americans, or one of every 28. For more than a half-century, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education, and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty — on the web at humanesociety.org.

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