With these principles in mind, Walmart singles out the confinement of hens in battery cages, sows in gestation crates, and calves in veal crates as practices that must end. Walmart is also working with its suppliers to address the welfare issues surrounding painful mutilations like tail docking, dehorning, castration, and to move to slaughter systems that don't cause as much pain.
This policy applies for all of Walmart's US operations and includes its subsidiary Sam's Club. With the company capturing a staggering 25 percent of the grocery market, there's no greater agent of change within our country's food system.
As Walmart says, this announcement is part of its pledge to continually improve farm animal welfare. In other words: it's a first step - and like all first steps, there's room for more. For example, Walmart doesn't yet have timelines for getting animals out of cages, or for achieving its commitments on other welfare issues - something we hope to solve with the company.
Timelines aside, this announcement helps create an economy where no agribusiness company - for business reasons alone - should ever again install a new battery cage, gestation crate, or veal crate. Walmart is helping drive the transition away from immobilizing cages and other inhumane practices, and toward a more humane, more sustainable approach to production agriculture.