The pharmacy giant Walgreens has fulfilled its cage-free commitment two years ahead of schedule, ensuring a more humane life for laying hens. In 2016, Walgreens committed to transitioning all eggs sold in stores to be sourced from 100% cage-free farms. By removing cage-produced eggs from its shelves, Walgreens has demonstrated its true commitment to animal welfare.
Headquartered in the Chicago area, Walgreens is the second-largest pharmacy store chain in the United States with over eight thousand stores nationwide. Walgreens specializes in filling prescriptions, health and wellness products, and photo services. Walgreens is most notably known as the “corner drugstore.”
In today’s food system, many chickens used for egg production are confined in small battery cages where they cannot stretch their wings comfortably or express natural behaviors. Living their lives in these small metal cages is physically and mentally distressing, causing foot pain and emotional suffering in confined spaces about the size of an iPad.
By switching to cage-free production, laying hens can move around, perch, and dust bathe, all essential behaviors needed to have a healthier life. In the United States today, 1 in 3 eggs is produced cage-free, which reflects both consumer and company demand for a better farm environment for these intelligent animals. By fulfilling its commitment, Walgreens demonstrates dedication to higher animal welfare and further shifts the needle toward a cage-free future. In addition, Walgreens's announcement is a wake-up call to other retailers that have been delaying action on animal welfare to get moving if they want to stay competitive.
Compassion in World Farming has maintained a positive relationship with Walgreens over the years and is honored to share this incredible progress for hens.
For more about our food business work, see Compassion in World Farming's Food Business Homepage.