U.S. food manufacturer General Mills on Tuesday specified a deadline for a previously-stated goal to make all eggs it harvests come from cage-free environments. The Minnesota-based company announced the move in July but didn't have a deadline for the goal, 2025, until Tuesday. File photo by format35/Shutterstock
GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn., Nov. 24 (UPI) -- American food manufacturer General Mills on Tuesday got specific with its animal welfare policy by announcing its eggs will be cage-free within the next decade.
The company in July announced its intention to go cage-free -- meaning chickens lay their eggs in a non-captive environment -- but Tuesday's revelation puts a time stamp on that goal.
Addressing the topic during the summer, General Mills said it wasn't able to give a completion date largely due to avian flu-related challenges. With a clearer picture Tuesday, the company set the goal to go completely cage-free by 2025.
Harvesting eggs from a cage-free environment is a part of what General Mills calls the "five freedoms" it pledges to animal sources of its products. The five are freedom from hunger, discomfort, pain, fear and freedom to live in as close to a natural habitat as possible.
The Humane Society, which has worked with General Mills to craft animal welfare policies, lauded Tuesday's announcement.
"General Mills is further demonstrating that confining hens in cages has no place within our food system," Humane Society food policy director Josh Balk said. "We applaud the company for its great work."
Providing pleasant habitats for animals who are a source of food has become more important to consumers in recent years. McDonald's, which buys 2 billion eggs every year, recently announced its intention to purchase only cage-free eggs -- like General Mills', by 2025.