To build a compassionate food system that doesn’t rely on exploitive factory farming, we must ensure a transition that allows everyone to participate—regardless of income. Thankfully, the movement to do just that is well underway!
Earlier this year, both the Oregon and Colorado Special Supplemental Nutrition Programs for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) updated their Approved Foods Lists (AFLs)—lists which specify which foods WIC recipients can purchase—to include cage-free eggs. That means that a combined 185,000+ consumers were granted access to more compassionate egg options. That’s a win for everyone!
Compassion USA initiated dialogue with both states, as well as presented at the National WIC Association Nutrition and Breastfeeding Conference, in 2020 and we are excited to see the programs expand their egg categories in alignment with over 200 major food businesses who have committed to source and sell exclusively cage-free eggs by 2025 and eight state legislatures.
But the fight for a cage-free future that’s inclusive to all still has a long way to go. As it stands, only 18 states authorize cage-free eggs—not including the six territory and 34 tribal programs. (See our Cage-free Eggs & WIC Tracker spreadsheet.)
Not only is this an economic justice concern, but it’s also a logistical challenge for national retailers with cage-free commitments. Nearly every major US retailer that has a commitment to go 100% cage-free by 2025, including giants like Walmart, Target, and Kroger, also participates in the WIC program.
Meaning, unless this obstacle is addressed through WIC, major retailers will either be unable to fulfill their public commitment to consumers or will be unable to fully serve WIC recipients. Neither of these outcomes is acceptable.
Compassion USA is committed to, and already undertaking, the work of dismantling this regulatory barrier to participation in and progress towards a more compassionate food system by working alongside retailers and the WIC program to expand access to cage-free eggs.
For more information, please see our WIC & Cage-free Eggs Fact Sheet