NEW YORK, Nov. 5, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- World Animal Protection commended Panera Bread today on the company's public commitment to transition its entire egg supply, including those used in breads, pastries and other bakery items, to 100% cage-free eggs by 2020. This announcement is a huge step forward for the welfare of the approximately 400,000 hens that lay the 120 million eggs that Panera uses each year.
"Panera Bread's announcement today demonstrates its commitment to consumers, who want responsibly sourced food, and to improving the lives of the farm animals that provide that food," says World Animal Protection's U.S. Executive Director, Priscilla Ma. "Businesses have the power and influence to drive tremendous positive change for huge numbers of animals, and we applaud Panera for showing today that such change is possible and vital."
"For more than a decade, we've been working to reduce antibiotic use and confinement across our supply chain," said Panera Bread Founder and CEO Ron Shaich. "We are honored to have been recognized as one of the two best performing national restaurant companies in an independent report on antibiotics usage and transparency in September. While there is more work to be done, we are within reach of a menu without antibiotics and unnecessary confinement. We are committed to transparency – which means sharing where we are and where we plan to go. We encourage other companies to join us by transparently sharing their progress."
The vast majority of the more than 300 million North American laying hens are currently kept in conventional battery cages, where each hen lives in a space smaller than an iPad. They have little room to stretch their wings or move around freely. But in typical cage-free barns, hens are able to express natural behaviors like walking around, laying eggs in a nest box, and perching.
Panera joins McDonald's, Starbucks, Burger King, Kellogg's, TGI Friday's, and many other leading food brands that have recently committed to source 100% cage-free eggs.
"Going 100% cage-free is the right decision for Panera, for consumers, and for hens," added Priscilla Ma. "Research has shown that animal welfare is increasingly important to consumers, especially millennials. We look forward to following Panera's progress as it shares updates on benchmarks towards going cage-free."
About World Animal Protection
World Animal Protection, formerly known as the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA), is active in more than 50 countries. From our offices around the world, we work with businesses, governments, local partners and animal welfare organizations to find practical ways to prevent animal suffering worldwide. For more information, visit www.worldanimalprotection.us.org
About Choose Cage-Free
Through its Choose Cage-Free campaign, World Animal Protection consults with businesses on transitioning to cage-free eggs and empowers consumers to select humanely produced eggs. In 2014, World Animal Protection announced a global partnership with Nestlé to improve the welfare of the animals in its supply chain; that partnership is the first-ever partnership between an animal welfare NGO and a major food business.
SOURCE World Animal Protection