Ryan Gosling’s important animal rights advocacy, and what Costco has to do with it

Earlier this week, Ryan Gosling released an open letter to Costco. Much like Taylor Swift’s letter to Apple, the subject matter was a policy that Gosling hoped to see fixed. He used his letter to call out the major retailer for their inhumane treatment of chickens and for the sale of eggs that come from chickens kept in cruel environments.

“I am writing today about the recent undercover investigation conducted by my friends at The Humane Society of the United States at a Costco egg supplier. Video footage revealed abhorrent cruelty,” the letter, published at Cage Free Future, begins. Gosling then goes into detail of the mistreatment, describing in vivid detail the kind of cruelty these animals face.

“Video footage revealed abhorrent cruelty including rows upon rows of birds confined in filth-laden cages with the mummified corpses of their cage-mates—eating, sleeping, defecating, and laying eggs on top of dead birds,” Gosling writes. (We caution against the graphic nature of the Humane Society video, but here it is.)

The investigation in question took place at a Costco egg supplier, and it isn’t the first time Costco has been in the spotlight for using farms that have been found to use inhumane practices. In 2010, the organization Mercy for Animals revealed a veal producer for Costco was treating their baby cows poorly. The outcry caused by the revelation caused Costco to implement a policy of no longer working with farms that use the “crate and chain” method.

Now, Gosling hopes the company will do the same for egg-laying hens. He writes, “It is appalling that Costco has been selling these eggs with deceptive labeling on cartons featuring graphics of birds living out in a green pasture. You’re already eliminating cages for veal calves and pigs – don’t you feel that chickens also deserve the same mercy?”

There has been an increase in demand for humanely raised meats and animal products, including milk and eggs, in recent years. But while terms like “cage-free” look good, it can be hard to tell exactly what conditions that labeling really indicates. Without transparency and clear guidelines for what counts as “cage-free” or “humane,” many companies are able to capitalize on the demand without following through on the practices.

No word yet on whether Costco will change their policy and embrace humane conditions fully, but we’re glad Ryan Gosling is adding his name to the chorus of voices calling for better treatment!

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(Image via Shutterstock)