Public poll brings light to consumers’ loss of trust in food companies’ progress toward their animal welfare goals
LOS ANGELES (June 8, 2023) — On Thursday, June 8, Mercy For Animals released the results of a public opinion poll revealing that consumers believe food companies such as Dunkin’, McCormick, and Best Western lack transparency about their progress toward certain animal welfare goals. Ahead of the fall launch of the third annual International Cage-Free Equity Index report, consumers are demanding that companies that have pledged to go cage-free in their global egg supplies but have been fully or partially silent on the status of their transitions share their progress toward 100% cage-free supply chains worldwide.
These food companies are losing consumer trust:
— Least trusted restaurant chain: Dunkin’ parent company Inspire Brands announced in 2021 its commitment to transitioning to a 100% cage-free global egg supply by 2025, but the company has reported progress only for Dunkin’ in the United States, leaving its progress in Asia, Latin America, the Middle East, Europe, and Oceania unknown.
— Least trusted food giant: In 2017, McCormick pledged to use only cage-free eggs in its products by 2025. But the company has reported progress only for McCormick-controlled operations, leading consumers to wonder about other McCormick-branded products, such as the egg-heavy McCormick mayonnaise made under contract in Mexico by Grupo Herdez.
— Least trusted hotel chain: In 2019, Best Western said it would annually publish progress toward its 100% cage-free deadline of 2025, but it has not followed through. The lack of transparency raises concerns about Best Western’s efforts to reach its proclaimed global cage-free goal.
“Over 100 companies around the world have pledged to stop buying eggs from suppliers that force hens into cruel cages,” said Chris Liptrot, global vice president of corporate engagement at Mercy For Animals. “Committing to banning cages is a great step for animal welfare, but only if companies follow through on their word. While many of these companies are sharing progress on their cage-free pledges, some companies have not yet disclosed whether they are fulfilling their pledges globally. Mercy For Animals urges the companies lacking in transparency to honor consumer trust by sharing their global progress on their cage-free egg commitments.”
Other companies, such as KFC, Elior, Meliá Hotels, and Louvre Hotels, have also not been forthcoming in reporting fully on their global cage-free egg commitments.
Hens suffer in extreme confinement:
— In factory farms worldwide, 84% of hens raised for eggs are crammed in groups into small wire cages. Each hen suffers an estimated average of 11,207 hours of pain (equivalent to about 466 days) in her shortened life.
— Caged birds are too restricted to walk, spread their wings, or engage in many other behaviors essential to their well-being. Running, jumping, foraging, and dustbathing are impossible.
— Cage confinement increases hens’ likelihood of painful health problems, such as foot lesions, bone loss, and liver disease. Caging is also associated with significantly higher rates of salmonella infection, raising serious food-safety concerns for consumers.
This is why Mercy For Animals, with the help of the consumer poll, is calling attention to food corporations that have not yet publicly reported their global cage-free progress years after announcing their pledges to ban all cages in their operations worldwide.
Countries around the world should immediately outlaw cages and give hens the freedom to walk more than a few steps, nest, perch, forage, and spread their wings.
Notes to Editors
For more information or to schedule an interview with Chris Liptrot, contact Ronnika A. McFall at [email protected].
Mercy For Animals is a leading international nonprofit working to end industrial animal agriculture by constructing a just and sustainable food system. Active in Brazil, Canada, India, Mexico, and the United States, the organization has conducted more than 100 investigations of factory farms and slaughterhouses, influenced more than 500 corporate policies, and helped pass historic legislation to ban cages for farmed animals. Join us at MercyForAnimals.org.