This year we saw major gains for farm animals in Mexico, especially for egg-laying hens, according to Humane Society International.
The majority of egg-laying hens are confined for their whole lives in wire battery cages that are so small they can barely move and can’t extend their wings. In 2016 alone, numerous corporations, including McDonald’s and Toks, have taken a public stance in support of more humane practices, committing to only source eggs from hens raised in cage-free environments. By adopting cage-free egg policies, these companies will relieve millions of animals from a life of extreme confinement. Many policies apply to operations throughout Latin America.
Sabina Garcia, corporate outreach and project manager for HSI Farm Animals in Mexico, stated: “We’re proud to work with the food industry on the adoption and implementation of their cage-free egg policies. Consumers care about the way animals are treated in food production, and companies are working hard to meet their expectations and to also create policies that better reflect their own corporate values. We will continue working with all sectors, including supermarkets, hotels chains, producers and other food companies in Mexico to support their transition to a cage-free supply chain.”
Progress for farm animals in Mexico in 2016 includes:
- The largest restaurant companies in Mexico announced cage-free egg policies. Arcos Dorados, which operates more than 2,100 McDonald’s restaurants in Mexico and 19 other Latin American and Caribbean countries, committed to transition to a 100 percent cage-free egg supply chain. Burger King, with more than 450 restaurants in Mexico, announced the same policy, as did Mexican corporation Grupo Alsea, which is the largest restaurant operator in Latin America. Alsea operates Burger King, Domino’s, Starbucks, VIPs, Chili’s, California Pizza Kitchen, PF Chang’s, El Porton, Foster’s Hollywood, Pei Wei, Italianni’s and Cheesecake Factory. This policy applies to the 3,000 units that Alsea operates in Mexico, Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Brazil and Spain. The following companies also adopted cage-free egg policies: Grupo Toks, with 226 restaurants in the country, including Toks, Panda Express, Cup Stop, Restaurantes California; Beer Factory-CMR, which operates brands Wings, Fonda Mexicana, La Destilería, El Lago, Bistró Chapultepec, Chili ́s, Olive Garden, Red Lobster and The Capital Grille, Sushi Itto and 100% Natural.
- Mexico’s largest food service providers commit to cage-free. Compass Group (Eurest) and Sodexo committed to switching to only using cage-free eggs. Together, both companies serve tens of millions of meals a year in Mexico alone.
- Companies like Burger King and Grupo Toks went a step further, also committing to a crate-free pork supply chain. In Mexico, breeding sows are also confined for almost their whole lives in individual gestation crates that are so small the animals cannot even turn around or take more than a few steps forward or backward. These companies join countless others that have also adopted gestation crate-free pork policies, including Arcos Dorados, Smithfield Foods/Granjas Carroll de México (Mexico’s largest pork producer), the three largest pork producers in Brazil, and dozens of food companies and producers in the United States.
Cage and crate-free egg systems generally offer a significantly improved level of animal welfare than do crate and cage systems. Cage and crate free animals are able to walk, and in the case of laying hens, can spread their wings and lay their eggs in nests, vital natural behaviors denied to hens confined in cages..