Brad Pitt Calls Out Costco For Cruel Treatment Of Caged Birds

Photo: Everett Collection/REX USA
Good-looking and good-hearted, that Brad Pitt. The proud papa of six (maybe seven?) has written an open letter to Costco CEO Craig Jelinek urging the chain to stop selling eggs laid by caged battery hens, The Guardian reports.

"As you know, these birds producing eggs for your shelves are crammed five or more into cages that are not large enough for even one hen to spread her wings," Pitt wrote. "In these cruel cages, the animals’ muscles and bones atrophy from years of immobilisation. That’s why the cages are illegal in most of Europe, and why California banned the cages by an overwhelming vote years ago."

Citing the humane efforts of many of Costco's competitors, Pitt goes on to encourage the chain to set a timeline for change: "Many major corporations, from Burger King to Unilever, are getting rid of cages – and Whole Foods hasn’t sold eggs from caged hens in years. Please, will you set a reasonable timeframe to stop selling eggs from caged hens?"

Use of battery hens at Costco — the third largest retailer in the United States — first came under fire last month after the Humane Society of the United States’ undercover investigation into the treatment of animals at one of the chain’s primary egg suppliers sparked none other than Ryan Gosling to pen an open letter to the Costco CEO decrying the practice. "It is appalling that Costco has been selling these eggs with deceptive labeling on cartons featuring graphics of birds living out in a green pasture," wrote the outspoken actor, who has advocated for humane animal treatment from the food industry in the past.

Comic Bill Maher has also spoken out for the caged birds as part of the Farm Sanctuary organization, and many are hoping the high-pressure from Hollywood makes Costco take notice. "When Brad Pitt, Ryan Gosling and Bill Maher all weigh in to say that battery cages are horribly abusive of animals and should be banned, it’s time for Costco to listen," Farm Sanctuary policy director Bruce Friedrich told The Guardian. "The animal protection community is laser-focused on Costco’s support for cruelty to animals, and the issue is not going away."
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