The world’s largest retail chain will transition to cage-free eggs by 2025. Bloomberg reports Wal-Mart and its Sam’s Club warehouse chain will require that its egg suppliers adopt United Egg Producers rules or an equivalent set of standards for cage-free housing. The company says compliance will be checked annually by a third party. Wal-Mart sells more groceries than any other company in the country. The new guidelines will apply to the retailer’s more than 5,000 stores in the United States. The move by Wal-Mart puts more pressure on the egg industry which is facing a costly transition to cage-free housing. The United Egg Producers group says only six percent of U.S. hens are currently raised without cages.
In a statement, Protect the Harvest said the decision had little to do with making eggs more affordable for customers, “This move, they claim, is meant to address affordability and quality, but in reality it accomplishes neither. The only true winner here is HSUS, who secures another partner in its ongoing fight against farmers and ranchers.” PTH pointed out that egg prices soared in California after they implemented a ban on eggs raised in cage facilities, “Since that time, egg prices have soared. In fact, last summer it was reported that prices spiked over 70 percent, forcing many people to go without eggs. Producers cannot afford to upend their operations so drastically, which is why many of these companies are giving such loose timelines on when they would fully adopt cage-free egg supplies. They know that it is an unrealistic approach.”