Brad Pitt sent a letter to Costco this week on behalf of Farm Sanctuary requesting that the big-box business stop selling eggs from caged hens.
Pitt submitted the message to chief executive Craig Jelinek, arguing that the retail of this particular product contributes to animal cruelty, The Associated Press reported
The letter states that birds suffer weakening of their muscles and bones due to a lack of mobility from being held in cages for years, pointing out that the use of such pens is banned in California and parts of Europe.
“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,” Pitt said in the note, according to the AP.
Pitt isn’t the only celebrity to have criticized the chain for its eggs. Bill Maher wrote an editorial on the issue in The New York Times
“Multiple investigations into battery cages document animals with deteriorated spinal cords, some who have become paralyzed and then mummified in their cages,” Maher wrote. “Imagine cramming five cats or dogs into tiny cages, hundreds of thousands in each shed, for their entire lives. That would warrant cruelty charges, of course. But when the egg industry does it to hens, it's considered business as usual.”
Actor Ryan Gosling made a similar appeal last month, CBS News reported.
All the celebrities praised Costco for its animal-welfare efforts already in practice, but urged the company to fulfill its 2007 promise to end the use of caged-hen eggs.
Both Pitt and Maher spoke on behalf of Farm Sanctuary, an organization that fights animal mistreatment and factory farming.
Costco released a statement in June acknowledging the “vigorous debates about animal welfare and laying hens,” the AP reported.
The statement discussed how some argue for “cage-free” hens while others believe cages can be safer for the chickens.
According to the release, organic and cage-free eggs have increased “more than twentyfold” within the past nine years.
Costco maintains it is “committed to the ethical treatment of animals,” including a code of ethics within its mission statement.
A variety of opinions were shared on Twitter about the hen controversy:
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