Unilever joins global cage-free egg crusade

Unilever has announced plans to source 100% cage-free eggs worldwide by 2025. The updated timeline for its global commitment is revealed in addition to the company’s existing commitment to transition its entire European and North American supply chains to 100% cage-free eggs by 2020.

Unilever’s chief procurement officer, Dhaval Buch, says, “We are actively working towards our commitment to ensure 100% of our global egg supply is cage-free by 2025, and by 2020 across Europe and North America. Although we are not one of the largest egg buyers in the marketplace, we hope our efforts will help drive progress globally.

“Through the Unilever Sustainable Agriculture Code, we will continue to proactively improve welfare standards across our supply chain and the wider industry.”

Unilever was one of the first global companies to work with The Humane League and other animal protection groups in 2015 to begin sourcing cage-free eggs for its products. In Western Europe, its Hellmann’s, Amora and Calvé brands have used 100% cage-free eggs since 2009. As of 2016, 53% of Unilever’s global egg supply was cage-free.

The food manufacturer worked with The Humane League and representatives of Open Wing Alliance, a global coalition of animal protection organisations, to form the timeline to remove cage eggs from its global supply chain.

Aaron Ross, vice president of policy & strategy at The Humane League, says, “In recent months, more and more major food companies are producing timelines to eliminate cages from their egg supply chains worldwide.

“The global cage-free movement is continuing to pick up steam and, with important companies like Unilever taking this step in the right direction, we are confident that soon these cruel practices will be a thing of the past. The Humane League and Open Wing Alliance applaud Unilever’s commitment to this progressive timeline for their global egg supply chain.“

More than 20 prominent food companies have recently announced global commitments to eliminate the use of cages in their egg supply chains. Unilever’s announcement comes on the heels of several other global cage-free policies from other major corporations, including Nestle, Aldi Sud, Kellogg Company, General Mills, Wyndham Worldwide, and more.

In addition, Hilton Worldwide recently reached its goal to source 100% cage-free eggs by 2018 for all of its hotel brands in 19 countries, including: France, Spain, Poland, Germany, United States, and the UK.

These global policies will help eliminate some of the worst abuses suffered by any animals in factory farms. The vast majority of egg-laying hens are confined to less space than a single sheet of letter-sized paper, without relief, for virtually their entire lives.

These hens are unable to even spread their wings and left with injuries and deformities from being denied basic space for growth and movement. The European Union has banned barren battery cages, however the “enriched cages” that replaced them in some areas still cram up to 13 birds into a square metre and hens still suffer greatly.

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