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Most laying hens are confined in tiny, crowded cages, leading to serious concerns regarding animal welfare and food safety. In response, virtually every major U.S. and European food company has pledged to end the use of cages in their U.S. and European egg supply chains.

While many companies are also moving to eradicate cages globally, others refuse to address the issue in the global South. Concerns for animal welfare and food safety do not end at the borders of global North countries. Acting as if they do ignores the voices and needs of concerned people in the global South.

“Failing to provide Asian, Middle Eastern, African or Latin American consumers the same level of food safety and food quality provided to European consumers can rightly be viewed as discriminatory.”

—Members of the European Parliament

“At Mercy For Animals Latinoamérica, we are aware that a policy change in a food company can reduce suffering for thousands of animals. By making a cage-free commitment and reporting progress, companies demonstrate social responsibility and transparency while strengthening their brand.”

—Mercy For Animals Latinoamérica

“While many companies have announced their global cage free egg policy, we feel a lack of respect to customers in Asia from those committed to going cage free only in some areas of their operation. We would continue to urge corporations to stop sourcing eggs from cage systems and we truly look forward to a cage free future coming for chickens worldwide.”
—Planet for All Hong Kong

“Consumers in all regions deserve the same ingredient quality, and customers are increasingly aware of animal welfare when choosing their food. Continuing to support such a cruel system as the battery cage system, in which laying hens are severely mistreated and unable to perform many of their natural behaviors, only shows how far behind the companies are with respect to new consumer trends.”
—Plataforma ALTO

“As a nongovernmental organization, we represent society’s interests in an ethical food system; higher animal welfare standards, food safety, and traceability—all of which are reflected in cage-free policies—are a growing demand in South America and should be a basic right for consumers anywhere in the world.”
—Mercy For Animals Brasil

“As Africa’s population keeps growing, the demand for eggs keeps rising exponentially. Therefore, non-inclusion of the global south in cage-free policies does not only perpetuate cage-free inequity, it means the continued suffering of hens in Africa. Kudos to this report for bringing an urgent call for equity in global cage-free standards.”
—Utunzi Animal Welfare (Kenya)

“Cage systems are considered one of the cruelest practices in food production. While many companies prioritize this issue and have already announced cage-free policies for their operations in Europe, the US, and Canada, not all of them are extending these commitments to other countries in the Global South. Multinational corporations should provide the same standards to their clients everywhere, and this is one of the reasons we support this initiative for more equity.”
—Sinergia Animal

“Consumers are tired of hearing excuses from powerful multinational corporations that attempt to justify cruelty. Cramming a hen in a barren cage, where she will live her entire life until she is slaughtered, is cruel everywhere. That doesn’t change when you cross a border. Companies without global cage-free commitments have fallen behind major brands like Yum!, Restaurant Brands International (RBI), and others that have committed to ban cages around the world.”
—Animal Equality

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Excluding consumers and animals in the global South from corporate social responsibility concerns is inequitable and unacceptable.

The International Cage-Free Equity Index categorizes companies according to whether the scope of their public cage-free egg commitments promotes international equity or perpetuates international inequity by remaining silent on cage-free egg standards for hens and consumers in certain parts of the world, such as the global South.

Global Food Manufacturers

Reflecting published statements as of October 15, 2021

Companies Promoting International Equity Through Global Cage-Free Egg Commitments
Companies Perpetuating International Inequity Through Lack of Global Cage-Free Egg Commitments

Global Foodservice Companies

Reflecting published statements as of October 15, 2021

Companies Promoting International Equity Through Global Cage-Free Egg Commitments
Companies Perpetuating International Inequity Through Lack of Global Cage-Free Egg Commitments

*Franchisee(s) or licensee(s) have cage-free egg commitments that cover parts, but not all, of operations in other countries.

Take Action
Send an email asking decision-makers at lagging companies to expand their cage-free egg commitments to include all hens and consumers around the world.

Promote International Equity in Your Cage-Free Egg Commitment!

I appreciate your company’s policy of addressing the animal-welfare and food-safety concerns associated with confining laying hens to tiny, crowded, barren cages in some global North countries, but I am disappointed that your company has yet to address the same issue elsewhere. Concerns for animal welfare and food safety do not end at the borders of global North countries. Acting as if they do ignores the voices and needs of concerned people in the global South. Excluding consumers and animals in the global South from corporate social responsibility is inequitable and unacceptable.

Your current silence on cage-free egg standards for hens and consumers globally perpetuates international inequity. 

I urge you to address laying hen welfare standards throughout your global egg supply chain by pledging to source 100% cage-free eggs globally by 2025 for all operations, with annual progress reporting and translations of your global cage-free egg commitment into all markets’ majority languages.

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Promote International Equity in Your Cage-Free Egg Commitment!

The International Cage-Free Equity Index is a project by Mercy For Animals in close partnership with Animal Equality Brasil, Animal Friends Jogja, Igualdad Animal, Planet for All Hong Kong, Plataforma ALTO, Sinergia Animal, The Humane League México, and Utunzi Animal Welfare.