Hot on the heels of the 2020 EggTrack report, Restaurant Brands International (RBI)—parent company of fast-food chains Burger King, Popeyes, and Tim Hortons—published an updated, global commitment to source 100% cage-free eggs by 2025 in North America, Western Europe, Latin America, Australia, and New Zealand. The company also committed to sourcing 100% cage-free eggs in all other countries, which represent 8% of their operations, by 2030 or earlier.
In 2016, RBI committed to go 100% cage-free in North and Latin America by 2025. In 2017, Burger King reported serving 100% cage-free shell and liquid eggs in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, but later retracted this reporting. This discrepancy was noted in EggTrack and led Bloomberg to seek clarity from RBI on its cage-free commitment status.
After sharpened and amplified attention on RBI’s failure to address the welfare of laying hens across its global supply chain, the company took the opportunity to update their commitment and establish itself as a leader in the global food sector. They are the first major restaurant group with a global cage-free commitment that covers all egg categories (whole, liquid, ingredient, etc.)—and earlier this year, one of their subsidiaries, Popeyes, became the first major fast food chicken chain to commit to the Better Chicken Commitment when RBI extended its commitment beyond Burger King and Tim Hortons.
Why is RBI’s commitment to go cage-free a win for egg-laying hens? Cruel cage confinement is one of the worst-of-the-worst factory farming practices and transitioning hens to cage-free housing represents a meaningful animal welfare improvement. Birds forced into small battery cages are unable to move freely, stretch their wings, or express nearly any of their natural behaviors. This leads to intense frustration, psychological suffering, and painful health complications like fatty liver hemorrhagic syndrome. Alternatively, cage-free housing provides animals with the opportunity to exercise and enrichments needed to express critical behaviors like nesting, perching, and dust-bathing.
Compassion USA would like to thank everyone who channeled their energy and determination to make this important progress for animals possible.