KFC, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, and The Habit Burger Grill are all going cage-free.
The restaurant chains, which total more than 50,000 locations worldwide, are owned by Yum! Brands, the world’s largest restaurant company. The company has released a global policy to use only cage-free eggs and egg products in the majority of its locations by 2026. By 2030, the fast-food corporation intends to be fully cage-free.
Yum! Brands says that the commitment will benefit millions of hens across its global supply chain. The announcement follows a campaign run by the Open Wing Alliance, a coalition created by animal welfare nonprofit The Humane League. The alliance was created to campaign for better treatment of egg-laying hens worldwide.
“We think this is the most impactful cage-free commitment of all time, since Yum! Brands is the world’s largest restaurant company,” says Aaron Ross, vice president of policy and strategy at The Humane League. “Consumers all around the world have been demanding better for animals, and companies like Yum! Brands are taking action.”
The cage-free movement’s impact
The use of cages is a common practice across the factory farming industry. In the U.S., around 97 percent of egg-laying hens are confined to battery cages that hold 5 to 10 birds and allow for about the size of a standard piece of paper’s worth of space. While going cage-free is arguably kinder to the hens, it is far from perfect.
Several other top food companies have keyed into the growing consumer demand for the more ethical treatment of animals used for food. Burger King, Dunkin’, Aldi, Kraft Heinz, Sodexo, Unilever, and Nestlé, the world’s largest food company, all have cage-free policies. Some companies are removing hens from the equation entirely. Dicos, one of China’s largest fast food chains, replaced eggs in several menu items with a vegan version.