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Sara Lee Hatches Cage-Free Egg Policy

The Humane Society of the United States Applauds Move

  • Hens in cage-free facilities don't suffer from severely restricted movement. Josh Balk/The HSUS

Downers Grove, Ill.-based food and beverage manufacturer Sara Lee has joined the national movement away from using eggs from caged hens by beginning a new cage-free egg purchasing program, prompting praise from The Humane Society of the United States.

The leading international food and beverage company has committed that more than one million of the eggs it uses each year will not come from hens crammed into battery cages, which provide each bird less space than a single sheet of paper on which to spend her entire life.

"The Humane Society of the United States applauds Sara Lee for improving the lives of thousands of hens each year with its cage-free egg commitment," said Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The HSUS.

Sara Lee worked with The HSUS to develop its new purchasing program. CJ Fraleigh, Sara Lee executive vice president and chief executive officer of North America, stated, "Sara Lee understands that animal welfare is important to many consumers, which is why we're proud to switch more than a million of the eggs we use to cage-free."

Sara Lee joins other companies, including Hellmann's mayonnaise, which announced its plans to convert 100 percent of the 350 million eggs it uses each year to cage-free. National restaurant chains including Burger King, Wendy's, Subway, Denny's, Red Robin, Quiznos, Sonic, Hardee's and Carl's Jr. have all started using cage-free eggs. Supermarket chains including Wal-Mart, Costco, Harris Teeter, Trader Joe's, Whole Foods and Safeway have all increased their sales of cage-free eggs.


  • U.S. factory farms confine about 280 million hens in barren cages so small, they can't even spread their wings. Extensive 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, but they can walk, spread their wings, and lay their eggs in nests—all behaviors permanently denied to hens crammed into battery cages.
  • Seven states, including Michigan and California, have passed laws to phase out the extreme confinement of farm animals.

See the video below for details on the kind of suffering inflicted on battery-cage hens.

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  • Battery-caged vs. cage-free: what's the difference? Learn More

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