McDonald’s, one of the largest purchaser’s of eggs, announced plans to switch to 100% cage-free within the next 10 years for all of its U.S and Canadian operations. The announcement comes nearly 16 years after they made plans to go cage-free in Europe.

“The European Union is a good 20 years ahead of us with regard to farm animal welfare legislation – but we are catching up fast,” says Leah Garces, USA Director for Compassion in World Farming, a U.K.-based animal welfare organization. “They [EU] have already banned all close confinement systems – veal crates, gestation crates, and battery cages. They even recognize farm animals as sentient beings in EU law.”

In a press release, McDonald’s says they’re transitioning to meet consumers’ changing expectations and preferences.

“Our customers are increasingly interested in knowing more about their food and where it comes from,” said McDonald’s USA President Mike Andres. “Our decision to source only cage-free eggs reinforces the focus we place on food quality and our menu to meet and exceed our customers’ expectations.”

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