Brad Pitt and Bill Maher said that Costco contributes to animal cruelty by selling eggs that are from caged hens. Pitt sent a letter to Costco Chief Executive Craig Jelinek Thursday and asked the company to stop selling eggs produced by the caged hens, reported the Associated Press.
Pitt's letter said caged birds suffer atrophy of their muscles and bones from years of immobility and added that the cages had been banned in California and much of Europe. "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.
Maher took aim at the company in an editorial published last week in The New York Times. "Multiple investigations into battery cages document animals with deteriorated spinal cords, some who have become paralyzed and then mummified in their cages," Maher wrote. "Imagine cramming five cats or dogs into tiny cages, hundreds of thousands in each shed, for their entire lives. That would warrant cruelty charges, of course. But when the egg industry does it to hens, it's considered business as usual."
Both men commended Costco for its other animal-welfare efforts and called on the company to make good on its promise to move toward uncaging its egg-laying hens. Pitt and Maher each spoke out on behalf of Farm Sanctuary, an organization that advocates against the mistreatment of animals and factory farming.
In June, Costco released a statement saying that it is "committed to the ethical treatment of animals," but also noted that there is a debate as to whether cage-free environments are really better for hens.