Brad Pitt Calls Out Costco Over Cruel Treatment of Caged Hens

Brad Pitt Urges Costco To Stop Supporting The Mistreatment of Egg-Laying Hens

Brad Pitt has spoken: The A-lister wrote Costco CEO Craig Jelinek an open letter this week, urging the big box retailer to stop selling eggs laid by hens confined to battery cages. He, along with Ryan Gosling and Bill Maher, are calling out the retailer for supporting animal cruelty.

Brad Pitt wrote:

As you know, these birds producing eggs for your shelves are crammed five or more into cages that are not large enough for even one hen to spread her wings. In these cruel cages, the animals’ muscles and bones atrophy from years of immobilisation. That’s why the cages are illegal in most of Europe, and why California banned the cages by an overwhelming vote years ago.

Many major corporations, from Burger King to Unilever, are getting rid of cages – and Whole Foods hasn’t sold eggs from caged hens in years. Please, will you set a reasonable timeframe to stop selling eggs from caged hens?

Ryan Gosling also sent an open letter to Jelinek, mentioning an undercover investigation by the Humane Society at one of Costco’s egg suppliers that revealed “abhorrent cruelty” toward hens.

Maher recently wrote in the opinion pages of The New York Times that Costco needed to “free the hens,” citing the retailer had been good on general wages, providing healthcare, and supporting gay rights—now it was time to step up to the plate on the issue of cruelty to hens. He urged Costco to get rid of battery cages, which give the hens only 9 inches by 9 inches to live their entire lives.

According to the article:

Make no mistake about it: Battery cages torment animals. Physically, the animals’ muscles and bones waste away from lack of use, just as yours would if you were unable to move around for two years.

That’s why multiple investigations into battery cages document animals with deteriorated spinal cords, some who have become paralyzed and then mummified in their cages. It’s so common that the industry has a name for it: cage layer fatigue. It doesn’t happen to animals that are allowed to move.

While Costco does sell organic and cage-free eggs, the majority of their eggs come from hens living in these tiny cages.

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Image: DoD News Features