ENVIRONMENT
10/15/2014 01:38 pm ET Updated Oct 15, 2014

Starbucks Customers Demand Company Switch To Eggs Laid In Less Cruel Conditions

A new petition by a nonprofit animal rights group asks Starbucks to stop using eggs produced by hens that live in cramped cages.

Though some of the eggs Starbucks sells are laid by cage-free hens -- those used in the company's spinach and feta breakfast wrap and in a handful of its other breakfast sandwiches -- the petition alleges that the coffee retail giant gets most of its eggs from farms that use cramped battery cages to house egg-laying hens.

"Despite claims made on their website to be offering 'ethically purchased and responsibly produced products,' Starbucks continues to purchase the majority of their eggs -- mostly used in their baked goods -- from cruel farms that confine egg laying hens in battery cages," The Humane League, the organization responsible for the petition, said in a statement to media. "These cages are so small that laying hens are unable to move around, spread their wings, or engage in any natural behaviors. Battery cages are illegal in several states and banned as criminal animal cruelty in all of the European Union."

More than 106,000 people had signed The Humane League's petition on Change.org, as of Wednesday afternoon.

A representative for Starbucks was not immediately available to comment.

In 2012, Burger King earned praise when it became the first major restaurant chain to pledge a commitment to using only cage-free eggs by 2017. Other companies, like Aramark, Marriott International and Au Bon Pain, have since followed suit.

The Humane League's campaign coordinator, Taylor Ford, told The Huffington Post that his organization is optimistic Starbucks will soon lay down a new and improved egg policy.

"We are pretty hopeful," said Ford. "We are still in the early stages of the campaign and believe that enough pressure from consumers will make Starbucks change the terrible practices they now support!"

Have an animal story to share? Get in touch with HuffPost's animal welfare editor at arin.greenwood@huffingtonpost.com!

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