WASHINGTON, DC, June 3, 2005 (ENS):
The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and Wild
Oats Markets, Inc. Tuesday announced an agreement to
avoid the sale of eggs from caged birds in all 75 Wild
Oats Natural Marketplaces, located in 23 states.
This announcement makes Wild Oats the nation's first
major chain to formally implement a cage-free corporate
policy for eggs. Wild Oats sold 1.6 million cartons
of eggs in 2004.
"Demand for improving the welfare of farm animals
has never been higher," said Perry Odak, President
and CEO of Wild Oats Markets, Inc. "We are hopeful
that our decision not to approve egg farmers who use
caged birds for our national and regional product lists
will encourage the egg industry to move in the direction
of phasing out its use of battery cages, and shifting
toward cage-free methods that take the animals' welfare
"Wild Oats has made a savvy business decision
by positioning itself as a corporation sensitive to
animal welfare concerns," said Wayne Pacelle, HSUS
president and CEO. "Socially aware consumers want
to know that animal products sold at retail are produced
in a humane and sustainable manner, and with egg production,
it is well established that raising birds outside of
cages is the most responsible production system."
Approximately 98 percent of eggs sold in the United
States come from birds confined in barren "battery
cages" so small they can't even spread their wings,
let alone engage in other natural behaviors such as
nesting, foraging, perching, and dust bathing - a practice
that 86 percent of Americans surveyed by Zogby International
find unacceptable. Despite this, battery cage egg production
has increased over the last 50 years.
According to HSUS Factory Farming Campaign manager
Paul Shapiro, "Birds in battery cages suffer immensely.
Wild Oats has taken a bold step by avoiding the sale
of eggs from caged birds, and we enthusiastically applaud
their efforts to help reduce animal suffering."
Other U.S. companies, such as McDonald's, Burger King,
and Wendy's have asked their egg suppliers to increase
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