Bill Maher Urges Costco to Stop Selling "Cruel" Eggs

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Bill Maher

In a blistering New York Times op-ed, the comedian and host of HBO's 'Real Time' urges the warehouse club "to set a timeline for getting rid of eggs from battery cages."

Bill Maher has joined Ryan Gosling in urging Costco to stop selling eggs from hens crammed in small cages.

The comedian and host of HBO's Real Time weekly late-night show has written a New York Times op-ed, set to appear in Friday's paper but published online Thursday, in which he condemns the warehouse club for failing "to set a timeline for getting rid of eggs from battery cages."

"Costco, please, free the hens already," Maher writes.

Maher says he finds it odd that Costco should be so far behind other companies that have committed to cage-free eggs, writing, "There’s no end in sight for this hideously outdated and cruel practice. A company that takes pride in its other socially conscious positions can do better than this."

He notes that in 2007 Costco reportedly promised to stop selling eggs from caged hens but has yet to set a specific timeline for when that change will take effect.

The comedian calls battery cages "the third system, along with pork and veal, in the factory farming cruelty trifecta."

He goes on to say cramming a hen into a cage with four or more other birds, giving each one less than a nine-inch by nine-inch space, "torment[s] animals," causing the birds' muscles and bones to "waste away from lack of use."

He also cites the video footage obtained by the Humane Society, which Gosling also described in his letter to Costco CEO Craig Jelinek, revealing cruel treatment of the hens by one of Costco's egg suppliers. Maher bashed Costco for responding to the footage by claiming the supplier was "behaving appropriately."

"Mentally, the birds, which can perform comparably to dogs on scientific animal behavior tests, go insane in these tiny cages," Maher writes. "Imagine cramming five cats or dogs into tiny cages, hundreds of thousands in each shed, for their entire lives. That would warrant cruelty charges, of course. But when the egg industry does it to hens, it’s considered business as usual."

Gosling wrote a letter to Jelinek demanding Costco "set plans now to go completely cage-free for its eggs" after the Humane Society footage surfaced.