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Ben & Jerry’s Goes Cage-Free!

And I quote: “After months of discussion with the Humane Society of the United States, Ben & Jerry’s declared that it will adopt an exclusively cage-free egg policy for the eggs it uses in its ice cream.”

Of course, the phase-in will take four years (groan), but this is a first step in the right direction. And the eggs will come from suppliers that receive the Humane Farm Animal Care seal of approval, making Ben & Jerry’s the first national food manufacturer to make such a switch.

The good news is a result of HSUS’s ongoing Cage-Free campaign. Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s had already dropped eggs from Michael Foods because of abuse and neglect.

Let’s thank Ben & Jerry’s for doing the right thing. And thanks to HSUS for its hard work on behalf of the hens.

UPDATE: According to HSUS, one of B&J’s potential egg suppliers estimates that the ice cream manufacturer uses about 100 million eggs a year, which means that annually, more than 350,000 birds will now be cage-free.


  1. Comment by


    on #

    This is not a step in the right direction. A step in the right direction would be the introduction of a vegan line of ice cream. Imagine if all of the people who contacted Ben & Jerry’s about this had contacted them about animal-free ice cream? If HSUS had put their institutional resources behind that, who knows what would have been possible.

    That Ben & Jerry’s graphic is creepy. Talk about invisiblizing the exploited cows and (dead veal) calves that no one wants to talk about. This is ice cream made from cows’ milk. But they get to send out a press release touting how “humane” they are. This perpetuates the status quo — animals are ours to use as long as we do it nicely.

    Victory for HSUS? Yes.
    Victory for Ben & Jerry’s? Yes.
    Victory for cows and chickens? Hardly.

    The press release also notes that Ben & Jerry’s is owned by Unilever, a corporation that tests on animals.

    And they also claim they invest in “an ongoing program to address global warming.” Nevermind that animal agriculture is the major source of global warming since methane is such a powerful greenhouse gas and their cows are making it no matter how “humanely” they are raised.

  2. Comment by


    on #

    The depection of the happy hens frolicking in the field pictured alongside the text of this posting is a perfect pairing to the delusional idea that anyone should be congratulating Ben & Jerry’s for using 100 million eggs a year.
    Yes, thanks to HSUS, Ben & Jerry’s can now pass the delusion of “humane” cage-free eggs on to their customers.
    Exactly who benefits from this? Many of us reading are well aware of the horrific conditions hens endure–whether in a cage or not–while being exploited for their eggs.

    If Ben & Jerry’s is doing the “right thing” by using cage-free eggs, then why would anyone support any of the companies that sell non-dairy ice cream products?

    The idea of congratulating an ice-cream company owned by Unilever for using 100 million “cage-free” eggs a year is absurd to me–as absurd as believeing that the term “humane” can be misapropriated for such a grotesque purpose.

  3. Comment by


    on #

    While I largely agree with the comments posted here, I think we have to step back and look at the larger picture. The majority of the consumers who enjoy Ben & Jerry’s ice cream are really not that concerned with the conditions of hens. Ben & Jerry’s is going to continue to serve probably millions of customers and to have at least a small victory of using cage-free hens is better than nothing. Do I support Ben & Jerry’s? Hell no. And I do resent the fact that they can now tout themselves as being “humane”? Most certainly. But it is a step in the right direction because the majority of ice-cream manufacturers do not use eggs from cage-free hens. I acknowledge that the term “cage-free” doesn’t mean much more than the hens are not in battery cages. But I honestly believe that raising public conciousness of factory-farming conditions is a step in the right direction.
    Things will not change overnight and I don’t think lobbying for a vegan line of ice cream whould have proved successful. For the non-vegan community, becoming aware of the horrible conditions animals have to endure is the first step, the next step is to convince them not to exploit animals at all. But this takes time and ultimately is accomplished by steps, however small.

  4. Comment by

    frank language

    on #

    I disagree that a vegan line of ice cream wouldn’t be a step in the right direction; a lot of people don’t or won’t eat vegan ice cream because it’s not easy enough to get, and asking for it specifically stigmatizes them. Some people are even surprised when they try a vegan ice cream they like, because they hadn’t had the same access to it as, say, Häagen-Dazs. (And, a lot of people hate vegans, and will do anything oppositional just to be contrary.)

    For instance, I won’t go into Dunkin’ Donuts for their coffee, because some corporate blind spot prevents them from offering soy milk as well as half-n-half to their customers. That’s their problem, not mine.

  5. Comment by


    on #

    If I embraced welfare ideology, then the bigger picture would have me accepting that Ben & Jerry’s will implement a systematic change that falls in line with my values. If I embraced animal rights ideology, then the bigger picture is no victory for the plight of animals in the goal to get respect for the fundamental interests of animals (ie., to not be treated as property).

    Personally, I see this and other similar HSUS campaigns as a step sideways or perhaps even backwards for animals because the more that we continue to laud the exploitation and killing of animals, the less we are doing to fight against the exploitation and killing of animals.

  6. Comment by


    on #

    what does ben and jerrys do with the calves their cows give birth to in order that they give milk so that they can make their ice cream .maybe they can have a new prodect ben and jerrys veal. that has always anoyed me when i see how they always put themselves as being so ecco friendly and now suposebly that they care about animals , and how much mother cow must suffer when baby boy calf is taken from her and turned into veal? there you go now you have ben and jerrys veal!

  7. Comment by

    Reisa Stone

    on #

    The argument is now moot. Ben & Jerry’s sold out to Unilever, one of the most prolific and brutal animal testing companies :-(

  8. Comment by


    on #

    doesn’t give a crap.. what the claims are..

    it’s still processed junk and it still uses animal product.

    so much for ‘truth in reverse’.

    f.u. ben and jerry’s. you suck also.