The many hens of this world are about to get a better work environment as they go about producing billions of eggs for the many fast-food joints, food makers, and retailers who need them. This uncaging is much more humane and will allow these feathered creatures a chance to stretch their legs and keep a bit of their sanity through their long, hard lives. But when will they working hens get these better environments?
Many have experienced the guilty pleasure that is McDonald’s breakfast. Think of all the eggs the company must need annually to produce these eggs. That means a lot of hens are needed to keep up with the demand. And naturally, from a business perspective, stuffing these hens together as tightly as they can fit makes the most sense. Well due to animal’s rights activists who fight to expose how dreadful this is to the hens, things are now about to change. And even most people who enjoy an egg Mcmuffin here and there can’t handle the guilt, no matter how tasty they are. Most people will accept the idea that these hens can get a little space if they are going to be used to work like that, at the very least.
McDonald’s buys 2 billion eggs a year. Now that the company announced they will transition to cage-free eggs, all your breakfast sandwiches will come with a little less guilt because by 2035 all those circular shaped egg patties will come from a hen who enjoyed her life outside of a cage.
It seems the announcement from McDonalds is part of a new trend. No company wants to be the one left caging their hard working hens; Subway, Starbucks, Wendy’s, and Taco Bell have all jumped on the bandwagon as well as food makers like Nestle’ and Walmart.
The only problem is that with the long time frame to make the shift, they are not much more than hopeful promises and the egg industry has not changed much. Now there are about 23.6 hens out of cages compared to the 275 million who are confined. So now it is about 9 percent who can roam around a bit more but things are about to rise with so many major companies making these promises. Egg producing facilities will have to adapt.
“Cage free is just the next logical step in providing eggs to our markets and comfort for our hens.” States Glenn Hickman who is the CEO of Hickman’s Family Farms. This is not the first time that animal welfare was a concern and public opinion persuaded the companies. There were of course the veal calves who were kept in crates almost exclusively and now only 30 percent are. There was a similar situation concerning egg-laying hens where the caged hens who now average about 72 square inches in space once had about 48 inches. Slowly but surely people are becoming a little bit more conscious of the wellbeing of animals, and each year there seems to be at least a little progress.
The important thing is that animal rights groups work hard so their efforts keep everything moving towards the right direction, never retracting. And as more people remain aware and more is exposed, the companies have no choice but to operate according to beliefs of their consumers who are becoming more aware and questioning what they consume.