International food companies ranked in cage-free corporate accountability report

Mercy For Animals launches third annual International Cage-Free Equity Index

LOS ANGELES (Sept. 26, 2023) — As part of a coalition of 16 animal protection organizations across 22 countries, Mercy For Animals has released the third edition of the International Cage-Free Equity Index. The index categorizes 40 major restaurants, food manufacturers, and retailers according to the equity or inequity of their cage-free egg commitments, as well as transparency about progress toward their animal welfare goals.

Mars, McDonald’s, and Walmart are among the international food businesses exposed for lacking a public global cage-free egg commitment. Companies including Chili’s, Olive Garden, Outback Steakhouse, Shake Shack, The Cheesecake Factory, and Yum! Brands (KFC, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell) have published global cage-free commitments but are not reporting progress on these commitments for all their regions of operation. 

Aramark, Compass Group, Costco, Kraft Heinz, and Unilever ranked favorably because of their public reporting of progress on their global cage-free commitments for all their regions of operation.

“Animal science has shown that cage systems simply cannot provide chickens with the necessary conditions for experiencing good welfare,” said Walter Sanchez-Suarez, animal behavior and welfare scientist at Mercy For Animals. “The billions of farmed hens in these production systems typically endure many health problems and suffer from lack of space and resources, but cage-free environments that are intentional in design and management can better meet the needs and preferences of these social, curious, and cognitively sophisticated birds. This is why Mercy For Animals holds that food corporations still supporting poultry farming must fully embrace the transition to cage-free conditions.”

Food companies should report on their global cage-free egg commitments just like any other corporate social responsibility goal. Reporting progress demonstrates to the public that the brand is trustworthy and has integrity. Mercy For Animals works to uphold the voices of conscious consumers who applauded the cage-free promises of big food corporations years ago. Implementation is critical to ensuring that food companies’ promises are indeed decreasing suffering for animals and driving change in our food system. 

More than 2,400 companies have already pledged to transition to 100% cage-free egg sourcing with clear timelines, and over 150 companies’ cage-free pledges cover their global egg supply chains. Further, the practice of caging hens has been banned or is in the process of being banned in several U.S. states and countries around the world. “It’s time to make caged chickens a thing of the past,” Sanchez-Suarez continued. 

Notes to Editors

For more information or to schedule an interview with Walter Sanchez-Suarez, contact Robin Goist at [email protected]

Media Resources

Link to Cage-Free Equity Index.
Images of chickens in confinement.

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