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October 27, 2010

The Humane Society of the United States to Applaud Sara Lee’s Animal Welfare Progress at Company’s Annual Meeting

At Sara Lee’s annual meeting Thursday, a representative of The Humane Society of the United States will applaud the company for its recent decision to start switching to cage-free eggs.

“The Humane Society of the United States applauds Sara Lee for beginning to move away from cages that confine egg-laying hens so tightly they can’t even extend their wings,” stated Josh Balk, corporate outreach director for The HSUS’s factory farming campaign. “We hope that more food manufacturers will follow Sara Lee’s lead.”  

Audra Karalius, vice president, sustainability, environment and safety for Sara Lee stated, “Sara Lee believes that part of being a good corporate citizen means helping to improve conditions for farm animals. Transitioning to cage-free eggs underscores the value we place on our supply chain partners to deliver high-quality, more ethically-produced ingredients.”

In 2010, after working with The HSUS, Sara Lee committed to switch more than one million eggs in its supply chain to cage-free. Across the country, a national movement away from using eggs from hens confined in cages has taken root: Burger King, Subway, Sonic, Wendy's, Arby’s, Denny's, Carl's Jr., Hardee's, Quiznos, and Golden Corral are just some of the major restaurant chains that use cage-free eggs; Wal-Mart's and Costco's private brand eggs are exclusively cage-free; and Hellmann's mayonnaise announced plans to convert the 350 million eggs it uses in the U.S. to cage-free. Other snack food companies—like Otis Spunkmeyer—have also decided to start using cage-free eggs.

Michigan and California have passed laws to outlaw cage confinement of hens. And California enacted a law that requires all whole eggs sold statewide to be cage-free by 2015.

Facts

  • U.S. factory farms confine about 280 million hens in 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 and, like caged hens, 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 cages.
  • Factory farming is a major social issue: A study by food industry consultancy, Technomic, ranked animal welfare as the third-most important social issue to restaurant patrons; an American Farm Bureau-funded report found that 89 percent of Americans believe that food companies that require their suppliers to treat farm animals better are doing the right thing; and a Citigroup report found that cruelty to animals presents a “headline risk” to restaurant companies. 

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Follow The HSUS on Twitter.

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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