Dunkin’ Donuts Wants To Help America Run On Cage-Free Eggs

They're not quite scrambling to get there, but this is still an important move.

Dunkin' Donuts just announced a clucking good move for animal welfare. 

On Monday, the Massachusetts-based chain committed to a timeline for transitioning to using only cage-free eggs. Once fully implemented, the change is expected to make life much better for about 1.4 million egg-laying hens per year -- animals who are now subject to one of farming's cruelest practices.

"We have a responsibility to ensure the humane treatment of animals, an issue we know is also important to both our franchisee community and our loyal guests," Christine Riley Miller, senior director of corporate social responsibility for Dunkin' Brands, said in a statement.

The fine print: It's going to take a decade to get there.

Josh Balk, senior food policy director for the Humane Society of the United States, tells The Huffington Post that this commitment, far off as it may be, is still important.

Dunkin' Donuts is "one of the most iconic restaurant brands in the country, and a major user of eggs," he said, which makes Monday's announcement "a bombshell announcement felt throughout the egg industry that we’ve reached a tipping point on the issue of caging egg-laying hens."

Indeed, Dunkin' Donuts is just the latest major food chain to make such a promise. McDonalds, Starbucks and Panera all plan to stop using battery-farmed eggs within the next five to 10 years. 

In mid-November, Taco Bell swore to be the swiftest of the fast food chains in making this egg-scellent switch -- it's due to use only cage-free eggs by the end of 2016.

Balk said all these changes stem from consumer demand for more humanely sourced food -- and recommends that folks encourage the diminishing number of restaurant chain holdouts to get cracking.

"The public is more aware now than ever before about the standard treatment of farm animals within food production," he said. "Major companies simply don’t want their brand to be associated with this inhumane production method."

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