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Hilton Hotels to Ban Cages for Hens and Pigs in Food Supply

PHOTO: Hilton Worldwide will begin to eliminate the use of cages for egg-laying hens and gestation crates for breeding pigs from its global supply chain. Photo Credit: The Humane Society of the United States.
PHOTO: Hilton Worldwide will begin to eliminate the use of cages for egg-laying hens and gestation crates for breeding pigs from its global supply chain. Photo Credit: The Humane Society of the United States.
April 7, 2015

MCLEAN, Va. - Hilton Worldwide, one of the world's oldest and largest resort and hotel chains, has announced it will begin to eliminate the use of cages for egg-laying hens and gestation crates for breeding pigs from its global supply chain.

Josh Balk, senior food policy director with the Humane Society of the United States, says the move by Hilton Worldwide is a major victory for animal welfare. His organization partnered with Hilton on the issue.

"Most egg-laying chickens are confined in cages and are unable to engage in vital and natural behaviors," says Balk. "On the pork side, most mother pigs are confined in what are known as gestation crates. These are cages so small mother pigs can't turn around for virtually their entire lives."

All hotels and resorts under the Hilton umbrella, including Doubletree by Hilton and Waldorf Astoria Hotels and Resorts, will be required to switch all egg usage to cage-free by December 31, 2017. All pork products will have to be purchased from suppliers that house breeding pigs in groups rather than gestation crates by December 31, 2018.

Balk says the tide is turning for many factory-farming practices in the U.S. and other countries, and he says Hilton Worldwide's new animal welfare commitment will substantially improve the lives of countless numbers of animals. But with a growing number of companies working to make these transitions, some ask why it will take years. According to Balk, it takes time to change the infrastructure of massive factory farms.

"It often takes several years to change how literally millions, and oftentimes tens of millions of animals are raised for food," he says.

In a written statement, Jennifer Silberman, vice president for corporate responsibility for Hilton Worldwide said, "With more than 2,000 restaurants in our global footprint, our goal is to have a considerable impact on sustainable sourcing in our industry, as well as drive humane treatment of animals throughout our supply chain."

Last year, Hilton announced a global ban on the sale of shark fins in all its owned and managed properties.

Monique Coppola, Public News Service - VA