Humane Society International will recognize TOKS, the fast-casual restaurant chain with over 130 locations throughout Mexico, with a Henry Spira Humane Corporate Progress Award for its adoption of policies that improve farm animal welfare. The Grupo Gigante-owned restaurant developed a network of suppliers from rural communities to fulfill its commitment to serve 100% cage-free eggs in all its restaurants.
On November 17, Humane Society International recognized TOKS’ leadership and discuss the potential lessons and insights to be learned for other companies during a Facebook live virtual event.
Arianna Torres, corporate relations manager for HSI, said: “We congratulate Toks for its corporate effort for the welfare of animals, communities and the environment. The work it has done to fulfill its commitment to serve only cage-free eggs in all its restaurants sets an important example for the food industry in Mexico and globally to improve the welfare of farm animals, providing a route others can follow.”
Vivian Argüelles, animal behavior and welfare specialist at HSI, said: “In Mexico, more than 95% of hens live their entire lives in cages so small that they cannot even walk or stretch their wings. In contrast, cage-free production systems offer birds space and resources for higher levels of physical and mental welfare, including the expression of natural behaviors, such as laying their eggs in a nest, perching, taking dust baths and foraging.”
Toks has been a leader in sustainable and responsible sourcing since its efforts in 2003 to support indigenous communities through initiatives involving the consumption of honey, coffee, jam and now eggs. In 2016, Toks made a commitment to include cage-free eggs in its supply chain, with the goal to achieve full implementation by 2022. HSI forged a strong partnership with Toks, providing ongoing guidance, helping to identify potential suppliers and contributing important technical support.
Gustavo Perez, Toks’ sustainability director, said: “Companies must be co-responsible in building a more sustainable and responsible world, seeking social, animal and environmental wellbeing both in our operations and in the value chain. At Grupo Restaurantero Gigante we partner with the Heifer International organization for the supply of cage-free chicken eggs from indigenous groups in the country, benefiting both women producers and contributing to animal welfare. In 2016 we made a commitment with the guidance and support of HSI Mexico to supplying 100% cage-free chicken eggs by 2022, and we will be moving in that direction, while continuing to address the current economic situation.”
Toks realized early in its transition to cage-free eggs that local communities had the potential to become important partners. Toks’s project empowers women entrepreneurs, helping to strengthen the economy of their communities, while ensuring Toks has a sustainable supply of cage-free eggs.
“I invite all business actors to join responsible initiatives that make them agents of change in favor of the living beings that inhabit this planet,” added Gustavo Perez.
The Henry Spira Awards recognize significant corporate animal welfare commitments in the memory of Henry Spira (1927-1998), a legendary Belgian-American humane advocate who specialized in constructive engagement with corporations committed to an animal welfare mandate as part of their corporate social responsibility missions. He is considered one of the most effective animal advocates of the 20th century.
HSI/Mexico media contact: Laura Bravo, firstname.lastname@example.org