The Insanely Complicated Logistics of Cage-Free Eggs for All

Why it takes time to move hens out of cages ...

YOU MAY NOT have noticed while you were scarfing your avocado toast, but 2015 was the year of the egg, at least as far as the food industry was concerned. An Avian flu outbreak briefly sent egg prices soaring. Meanwhile, McDonald’s, the world’s largest fast food chain and one of the biggest egg buyers anywhere, announced it would ditch its conventionally farmed eggs and sell nothing but cage-free eggs in all of its US and Canadian restaurants. By the end of the year, just about every major fast food chain and a handful of multinational food companies had followed suit, including Subway, Starbucks, Nestle and most recently Wendy’s, which joined in just this month.

But these announcements had a catch. The companies said the switch to cage-free would take anywhere from five years to a decade to complete. How could it possibly take ten years to let a bunch of chickens out of their cages?

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