Costco Just Made A Big Announcement About Its Eggs

Costco's plan to offer only cage-free eggs is finally going to hatch, the warehouse announced in an email to investors this week (per The Poultry Site). Previously, 95 percent of Costco's eggs were labeled cage-free, with eggs coming from China not falling under that category. But a new facility in mainland China, which will house 50,000 cage-free hens, will mean that Costco's entire global supply chain of eggs comes from birds that are not housed within the confines of cages. It will take several years for the transition to be complete, the email noted.

This move towards cage-free eggs is just one of the measures the company has taken in the name of animal welfare; Costco also audits its farming practices and seeks "responsible sourcing" for products such as down feathers. "Animal welfare is part of Costco's culture and responsibility, calling us to serve as stewards of the animals, land, and environment entrusted to the company," its website states. But, some animal rights groups say that these measures aren't all they're cracked up to be.

Costco has been criticized in the past for animal cruelty

Some animal welfare advocates have praised Costco's new cage-free eggs policy, with Kirsty Tuxford, Program Manager with Lever Foundation, an animal protection non-profit that worked with Costco for the past two years on the policy change, telling The Poultry Site that going cage-free is a "landmark decision" worthy of applause. "Costco's move will spare millions of animals from being confined for their entire lives in cages so small they can barely turn around. We commend Costco for being the first U.S. retailer to address this key animal welfare and food safety issue throughout its global supply chain," Tuxford said.

However, the warehouse chain has come under fire in the past specifically for its treatment of chickens – including those living in cage-free facilities. In 2016, the animal advocacy group Direct Action Everywhere released a video showing stealth footage of a cage-free farm in California revealing dead and injured hens. "There were birds rotting on the floor, and there was one dead bird that seemed to have lost her head," Wayne Hsiung, who helped make the video for the group, told The Seattle Times.