Progress! Grassroots Campaign Convinces Costco to Stop Caging Hens for Eggs

December 29, 2015

After months of pressure from dedicated animal advocates, Costco, the nation's third largest retailer, has officially committed to working towards an exclusively cage-free supply chain.

"Costco is committed to going cage‐free for its egg procurement," the company's website states. "We are working with our suppliers toward a complete and sustainable transition to a cage‐free supply chain."

This update is big news for the hens who suffer in battery cages — not only because it will impact millions of hens each year but because it sends a clear message to the retail industry: caging hens is unacceptable.

The Humane League was deeply involved in the coalition effort to see Costco produce this commitment. Utilizing our grassroots network and our campaigns team's finely honed tactics, we were able to create a growing national boycott of Costco.

We worked with local activists like Seattle resident Quilla Park. Park gathered over 100,000 signatures on an online petition and made sure Costco knew it — she delivered them right to the doorstep of its headquarters. Following the delivery, she held a protest with over 30 dedicated activists outside a local store.

The Humane League also organized throughout our 11 office cities to gather the voices of animal-loving students. This took form in StudentsAgainstCostco.com, where nearly 300 students submitted testimonials about how they would never shop at Costco unless the company committed to stop caging hens.

Our dedicated grassroots network also submitted more than 50 letters to the editors of their local papers, leafleted outside Costco stores, and called local Costco managers to voice their opposition to the company's animal abuse.

Costco takes pride in its membership program, and many of our supporters were Costco members themselves. After viewing disturbing undercover footage shot at a Costco egg supplier, many of our supporters publicly ended their membership by cutting up their cards on camera. The Humane League then compiled these videos into a hard-hitting compilation video and sent it to Costco executives. This sent a strong message to Costco that its customers will not support a company that tolerates animal cruelty.

Our campaign to see Costco commit to ending cages in its supply chain took many forms, and none of our efforts would have been successful without passionate involvement of our supporters. In the past year, animal advocates' tireless campaigning led to monumental changes in the restaurant industry, and with Costco's recent announcement, we expect to see similar progress in the retail industry in 2016. The writing is on the wall: cages have got to go.