Global food giant Heinz announced animal welfare improvements in its sustainable sourcing policy. The company, which had already pledged to work with its suppliers globally to find solutions to reduce the use of battery cages, now committed to ensure that 20 percent of its eggs are cage free by the end of 2015 in its North American operations. Heinz’s move is a result of discussions with The Humane Society of the United States – the parent organization of Humane Society International.
N.G. Jayasimha, managing director of HSI-India said: “We applaud Heinz’s commitment to phasing out the most extreme forms of confinement in animal agribusiness from its supply chain in North America. We hope to see Heinz and other industry leaders take similar steps to improve animal welfare within their supply chains in India.”
Besides working to phase out the use of battery cages—small, wire enclosures used to confine egg laying hens—for egg production, Heinz's sustainable sourcing policy also aims to improve pig welfare. In 2012 the company announced a commitment to end the use of gestation crates.
The lifelong confinement of egg-laying hens in barren battery cages and pregnant sows in gestation crates severely impairs the animals’ welfare, as they are unable to exercise, fully extend their limbs, or engage in many important natural behaviors. As a result of the severe restriction within these barren housing systems, animals can experience significant and prolonged physical and psychological assaults.
In India approximately 200 million laying hens spend their lives confined in battery cages.