Safeway Inc. is the first major grocery retailer in the U.S. to require all of its cage-free eggs to become Certified Humane. In 2008, Safeway started an initiative with its suppliers to source all Lucerne Cage-Free and O Organics shell eggs from farms that are Certified Humane. The Certified Humane label is administered by Humane Farm Animal Care (HFAC).
Two years later, the grocery retailer announced a new goal of increasing cage-free egg sales from six to 12 percent within two years. Currently, over 15 percent of overall eggs sales are cage-free. This year, Safeway added the Open Nature line to the Certified Humane program. Safeway is a Fortune 100 company that operates 1,644 stores in the U.S. and western Canada and had annual sales of $43.6 billion in 2011.
The Certified Humane label is described by HFAC as a “certification and labeling program that is the only animal welfare label requiring the humane treatment of farm animals from birth through slaughter.” In order to qualify for the Certified Humane label, an egg farm has to meet certain standards:
- Cages are not allowed, and housing facilities must include areas for hens to nest, dust bath, scratch and perch
- The animals must have enough space, shelter and gentle handling to limit stress
- The animals must have access to ample fresh water and a healthy diet of quality feed with no animal by-products
“Safeway’s commitment has been unique and impressive,” said Adele Douglass, Founder and CEO of HFAC. Douglass pointed out that in order for Safeway to become certified, its suppliers had to make “necessary changes.” Safeway’s certification has had a “major impact on improving the humane treatment of laying hens in the U.S.” Douglass added, “Safeway’s leadership is unparalleled within the retail food industry.”
“We are supporting traditional farming practices and are committed to improving the welfare of farm animals,” said John Larsen , Safeway Vice President of Dairy and Refrigerated. “We will continue to work with our suppliers to offer our customers what they have shown us they want to see in our selection. We are determined to move the needle forward for progress across the business. It’s the right thing to do.”
Safeway’s goal is to have a gestation crate free pork supply chain
In May, Safeway announced it will start creating plans to have a pork supply chain free of gestation crates. Pregnant pigs are housed in gestation crates which are so small they can’t turn around in them. During the last couple of years, Safeway has increased the amount of pork it buys from producers with commitments to decreasing gestation crates in their breeding facilities.
“It is Safeway’s goal to have a gestation stall-free supply chain,” said Safeway vice president of public affairs Brian Dowling. “With that in mind, the company is formulating plans to determine how it can reach that goal.”
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