Following yesterday’s story on LookToTheStars.org featuring letters from Joaquin Phoenix and Bob Barker, Albertsons, the nation’s second-largest supermarket chain, announced its commitment to improving animal welfare in its entire supply chain by switching to 100 cage-free eggs by 2025 for all its stores and affiliate locations, including Safeway, Vons, Pavilions, Jewel-Osco, Shaw’s, Acme, Tom Thumb, Randalls, United Supermarkets, Star Market, and Carrs.

The move, which will spare countless hens a life of suffering in tiny wire battery cages, has been applauded by the international animal protection organization Mercy For Animals, which gathered more than 65,000 signatures on its Change.org petition.

Among other actions, the group also staged protests at Safeway’s corporate headquarters and in front of Safeway locations, coordinated an online advertising campaign featuring kids asking Safeway to go cage-free, and published open letters by TV legend Bob Barker and Academy Award-nominated actor Joaquin Phoenix to Albertsons and Safeway’s CEO.

The new cage-free commitment by Albertsons follows similar announcements by grocers Giant, Stop & Shop, Costco, Target, CVS, Trader Joe’s, and BJ’s Wholesale Club.

Stuffed into cages so small the birds can’t walk, spread their wings, or engage in other natural behaviors, these intelligent, sensitive animals are subjected to unspeakable cruelty and neglect. Many birds become trapped and painfully mangled in the cage wire or under the feed trays and often suffer and die. Dead hens are left to rot alongside birds still laying eggs for human consumption. Battery cages are so cruel they’ve been banned by California, Michigan, and the European Union.

“Albertsons has taken a significant step forward in improving the lives of farmed animals,” said Nathan Runkle, president of MFA. "Albertsons’ cage-free egg commitment will reduce the suffering of countless hens and hopefully inspire other food companies to do the same.

“It’s high time the rest of the food industry, including Kroger and SUPERVALU, acknowledged that cramming birds into cages barely larger than their bodies is cruel and has no place in a civilized society. With Albertsons’ announcement, it’s never been clearer that the days are numbered for egg factory farmers who pack birds in cages so small they can’t walk, spread their wings, or engage in other natural behaviors. Any food company that has not yet adopted a cage-free egg policy will find itself at odds with common decency, ethics, and business trends.”

To learn more about MFA and its efforts to help farmed animals, visit MercyForAnimals.org.

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