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Press release content from PR Newswire. The AP news staff was not involved in its creation.

Global food companies ranked in second annual International Cage-Free Equity Index

September 20, 2022 GMT
Mercy For Animals Logo (PRNewsfoto/Mercy For Animals)
Mercy For Animals Logo (PRNewsfoto/Mercy For Animals)
Mercy For Animals Logo (PRNewsfoto/Mercy For Animals)
Mercy For Animals Logo (PRNewsfoto/Mercy For Animals)
Mercy For Animals Logo (PRNewsfoto/Mercy For Animals)

New Mercy For Animals-led index highlights worldwide aversion to extreme confinement of farmed animals

LOS ANGELES, Sept. 20, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- A Mercy For Animals-led coalition of 14 animal protection organizations across 26 countries has released the second edition of the International Cage-Free Equity Index. The index categorizes 39 major restaurants, food manufacturers, and retailers according to the global equity or inequity of their cage-free egg commitments, as well as transparency about progress toward their animal welfare goals.

Companies exposed for remaining silent on cage-free egg standards in certain parts of the world, such as the Global South, include Walmart, McDonald’s, and Subway. Meanwhile, The Cheesecake Factory, Taco Bell, and Olive Garden are among the companies praised for publicly committing to cage-free standards globally. Kraft Heinz, Aramark, and Danone are some of the companies leading the way by transparently reporting progress toward their cage-free commitments in every region in which they operate.

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“People everywhere deserve food that meets basic quality standards,” said Zoë Sigle, Mercy For Animals’ senior global corporate engagement manager. “When companies transition to cage-free eggs in the United States or Europe but not Africa, Asia, or Latin America, they ignore the interests of consumers and animals in the Global South. As a result of this inequity, we’re seeing the egg industry dump unwanted cruel cages into the Global South.”

The index includes highlights of Mercy For Animals’ research into consumer attitudes:

  • In Brazil, 82 percent of survey respondents considered caging hens in tiny spaces that limit their movements unacceptable.
  • In China, 72.9 percent of respondents felt that rearing conditions for farmed animals, including hens, should be improved.
  • In Mexico, 91 percent of respondents would prefer to buy eggs from hens who don’t live in cages.
  • In India, 94 percent of respondents felt that food companies should have comprehensive animal welfare policies.

RecentMercy For Animals’ investigations have revealed dead birds in the same cages as hens still laying eggs for human consumption and birds stuck in cage wire, unable to reach water or food. Cage confinement of laying hens is associated with significantly higher rates of salmonella, raising serious safety concerns for consumers.

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Around the globe, hens raised for eggs live in wire cages often packed with so many birds they cannot spread their wings. Each hen often has floor space smaller than a standard sheet of printer paper. Public commitments to greater welfare standards, therefore, are critical.

To learn more about the index or to schedule an interview with a Mercy For Animals team member, contact Diane May at dianem@mercyforanimals.org.

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, moved more than 300 food companies to adopt animal welfare policies, and helped pass historic legislation to ban cages for farmed animals. Join us at MercyForAnimals.org.

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SOURCE Mercy For Animals