Costco Defends Practices Following Cage-Free Billboard Controversy

Costco Caged Eggs Controversy Continues

Costco has been forced to defend its buying decisions after The Humane Society posted a giant billboard in New York’s Times Square that accused the company of buying eggs from caged chickens. The giant digital billboard clearly shows graphic footage of chickens being mistreated.

Costco’s CEO Craig Jelinek spoke with FOXBusiness.com about the targeting of the retail giant.

“This has been going on for about two to three months. We probably are the largest seller of cage-free eggs in the United States. The society would like us to give them a timeline as to when we will be all cage-free and we are not prepared to do that.”

The footage, filmed in secret, takes up 1,700 square feet of prime billboard space in New York City.

Costco was targeted because the company promised eight years ago that it would go entirely cage-free. Despite that promise, the company has no timeline in mind for the transition.

Jelinek says the supplier in question only sells 15% of their eggs to Costco, yet only the company was named in the attack ad.

Other companies with firm timelines for the removal of caged eggs include Burger King, Unilever, Aramark, Sodexo, and Compass Group.
It hasn’t helped Costco’s PR that actors such as Brad Pitt, Ryan Gosling and Bill Maher have called out the company.

In a letter to Jelinek, Brad Pitt wrote:

“Nearly a decade ago, Costco indicated that its next step on this issue would be creating a timeline for getting those cages out of your egg supply, and yet today, you appear to have made no progress at all—even as you have set timelines for getting pigs and calves out of cages.”

Costco released a statement saying they are committed to the ethical treatment of animals. The company also says that some researchers believe cages are actually safer for chickens.

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More than 8 million birds lay eggs for Costco, including five million in cages.