McDonald’s announced plans to eliminate the currently-standard practice of confining egg-laying hens in cages from its supply chain by switching to 100 percent cage-free eggs for its U.S. and Canadian operations—a move that will spare nearly 8 million animals each year from life inside cramped cages.

“This is a watershed moment in a decades-long effort to eliminate the cruelest confinement from our food supply,” said Humane Society of the United States president and CEO Wayne Pacelle. “McDonald’s admirable move makes clear that egg production's future is cage-free.”

McDonald’s decision follows a multi-year study the company helped fund into the myriad animal welfare, economic, food safety and market factors around cage confinement and cage-free housing. It also follows a decades-long global movement against the extreme confinement of farm animals that the HSUS helps spearhead—a movement which has included:

  • Nearly 100 major companies—including McDonald’s—announcing plans to abandon tight cages for breeding pigs called gestation crates;
  • Industry titans like Burger King, Nestle, Sodexo, Aramark, Heinz, Starbucks, Compass Group and many more  announcing similar conversions to 100 percent cage-free eggs;
  • And prohibitions on certain forms of confinement in 10 U.S. states and dozens of nations. 

Specifically, McDonald’s announcement commits the company to reaching a 100 percent cage-free egg supply chain within the next 10 years.

“Especially given the magnitude of this reform, we’re heartened that McDonald’s policy comes with a timeline,” Pacelle added. “We’re optimistic that the switch can occur even quicker, and we look forward to working with other food companies to follow suit.”

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