THE LATEST MONUMENTAL VICTORIES IN THE CAGE-FREE MOVEMENT

July 19, 2016

Over the past month, some of the world's largest retailers have produced timelines to source 100% cage-free eggs following conversations and campaigns from The Humane League. Two distinguished commitments were announced in the past week, each signifying that the practice of cruelly caging hens will soon be history in both the United States and abroad.

Tesco

The Humane League recently expanded our cage-free effort into Europe. Following extensive conversations with The Humane League, Tesco, the United Kingdom's largest retailer and the fifth largest retailer in the world by sales, announced its commitment to source 100% cage-free by 2025. The new policy will affect the 1.4 billion eggs Tesco sells each year in the UK. Prior to our in-depth conversations with Tesco, a young girl petitioned the company to go cage-free and received thousands of signatures. Noting the overwhelming support of cage-free products by consumers in the United Kingdom, The Humane League engaged in productive, private dialogue with the company's leadership to produce a firm timeline.

Tesco accounts for 28% of the retail market in the United Kingdom, and this decision sets a new precedent for all other retailers and food companies in the country. Securing over $104 billion USD in sales in fiscal 2015, Tesco's commitment distinguishes the company as the largest retailer in Europe to commit to eliminating cages entirely from its supply chain. The new policy will affect all eggs sold in its over 3,500 stores across the United Kingdom. We believe that in the near future every major European company will make the same commitment to phase out cages, just as we see happening in the United States.

Publix

After months of strategic campaigning from The Humane League and multiple animal protection organizations, including Mercy For Animals, Humane Society of the United States, Compassion in World Farming and Change.org, Publix announced on Friday its commitment to source 100% cage-free eggs by 2026. The retailer's announcement marks a significant moment in history: the 25 largest grocers in the United States and Canada have all produced commitments to eliminate the use of cruel cages in their egg supply chain.

Along with rigorous campaigns from other animal protection groups and nonprofits, The Humane League launched digital campaigns against the grocer which included social media strategy, email campaigns and call-ins to the company's executive leadership. We also campaigned against the company's distributor and reached out to members of its board with a request for Publix to join its competitors and do away with the outdated, barbaric practice of caging hens. The combined efforts of all organizations resulted in Friday's announcement of a cage-fee timeline, which will ultimately spare the suffering of more than 15 million egg-laying hens per year. Publix is the country's third largest supermarket chain and its new policy will affect all eggs sold in its 1,100+ stores.

More Monumental Victories

In addition to Tesco and Publix making public timelines to source cage-free eggs last week, The Humane League has worked with many other companies to produce similar commitments in the recent past. Since securing Walmart's cage-free policy and timeline in April, we've secured commitments from some of the largest retailers in the United States including Wakefern Food Corp (ShopRite, Price Rite), Dollar General, Southeastern Grocers (Winn-Dixie, Bi Lo, Harveys), Wegmans, WinCo, and 7 Eleven. Moreover, in the past few months we have worked with 24 other retailers to produce cage-free policies all over the country: New York, California, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Texas, Kansas, Connecticut, New Jersey, Idaho, Wisconsin, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Tennessee, Ohio, Indiana, Missouri, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Louisiana, Utah, Oklahoma, Hawaii, Illinois. Retailers account for well over 50% of eggs sold in the United States, and it looks more clear than ever that the entire industry is moving toward more compassionate practices.