In recognition of its work to improve the lives of farm animals, Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines is among the 2010 recipients of The Humane Society of the United States’ Corporate Progress Award.
The award recognizes companies that have made demonstrable progress in reducing animal suffering and advancing animal welfare in 2010.
“Royal Caribbean has helped pave the way for animal welfare improvements in the cruise industry,” stated Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The HSUS. “We applaud the company’s efforts to reduce animal suffering by moving toward cage-free eggs and hope that others will follow its lead.”
In 2010, Royal Caribbean—the world’s second-largest cruise line—became the first cruise line to begin using cage-free eggs, prompting its top competitors to follow suit. Royal Caribbean switched 3.2 million eggs to cage-free immediately and committed to increasing its usage of cage-free eggs to 6.8 million within a year—sparing nearly 30,000 hens each year from being crammed inside tiny cages.
“Royal Caribbean was pleased to begin buying cage-free eggs in 2010," said Richard D. Fain, chairman and CEO. “Our guests take their concern for animals with them when they travel, which is why we’re working to transition to only using cage-free eggs.”
Following in Royal Caribbean’s footsteps, Carnival Cruise Lines and Norwegian Cruise Lines both started using cage-free eggs in 2010. Major restaurant companies including Burger King, Wendy’s, Denny’s, Subway, Sonic, Quiznos, Red Robin, Hardee’s and Carl's Jr.—have started to use cage-free eggs. Hellmann’s mayonnaise announced that it will convert all 350 million eggs it uses each year to cage-free. And supermarket chains including Wal-Mart, Costco and Safeway have taken steps to increase their cage-free egg sales.
• U.S. factory farms confine about 280 million hens in cages so small each bird has about as much space as a sheet of paper. Extensive scientific research confirms this causes suffering and threatens food safety.
• 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.
• Factory farming is a major social issue: A study by food industry consultancy Technomic ranked animal welfare as the third most-important social issue to restaurant patrons; an American Farm Bureau-funded report found that 89 percent of Americans believe that food companies that require their suppliers to treat farm animals better are doing the right thing.