Carnival Cruise Lines and Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines—the world’s first- and second-largest cruise companies, respectively—have adopted policies to join the growing national animal welfare trend by incorporating cage-free eggs into their dining operations. Both Miami-based companies worked with The Humane Society of the United States to develop their policies.
Royal Caribbean will switch 3.2 million eggs to cage-free immediately, increasing to 6.8 million within a year—sparing nearly 30,000 hens each year from being crammed inside tiny cages. Carnival Cruise Lines has made similar progress, converting more than 2 million eggs to cage-free. While there has been positive movement on this issue within the cruise line industry, Norwegian Cruise Lines, the world’s third-largest cruise company and also based in Miami, still only uses eggs from hens confined in cages so small, they can barely move.
“Many vacationers take their concern for animals, food safety and sustainability with them when they travel, and we applaud Royal Caribbean and Carnival for taking those concerns seriously by reducing their reliance on eggs from caged hens,” said Matthew Prescott, corporate outreach director of The HSUS’ factory farming campaign. “We hope that Norwegian Cruise Lines will follow the lead of its competitors in this area.”
Across the country, a national movement away from using eggs from hens confined in cages has taken root. Subway, Wendy's, Denny's, Carl's Jr., Hardee's, Quiznos, Golden Corral and Miami-based Burger King are just some of the major restaurant chains that use cage-free eggs. Wal-Mart's and Costco's private labels only use cage-free eggs. And Hellmann's mayonnaise announced plans to convert the 350 million eggs it uses in the U.S. to cage-free.
Michigan and California have passed laws to outlaw cage confinement of hens, and Ohio’s governor, representing the second-largest egg-producing state, announced his support for a moratorium on the construction of any new cage layer facilities. And California recently enacted a law that requires all whole eggs sold statewide to be cage-free by 2015.
• U.S. factory farms confine about 280 million hens in cages so small, they can't even spread their wings. Extensive scientific research confirms this causes suffering.
• Cage-free hens generally have two to three times more space per bird than caged hens. Cage-free hens may not be able to go outside and, like caged hens, may have parts of their beaks cut off, but they can walk, spread their wings and lay their eggs in nests—all behaviors permanently denied to hens crammed into cages.