Brad Pitt and Bill Maher join Ryan Gosling in condemning Costco for caged hen policy

Pitt wrote to the chain's CEO while Hader wrote a piece in The New York Times

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The Independent Online

Brad Pitt and Bill Maher have both called out US supermarket Costco for ‘animal cruelty’ over their treatment of caged chickens.

Pitt wrote an open letter to the store’s CEO asking them to stop selling eggs from chickens whose quality of life is so poor.

He claims the caged birds suffer atrophy in their muscles and bones from years of immobility, pointing out that this practice has bee banned in California and much of Europe.

“As you know, these birds producing eggs for your shelves are crammed five or more into cages that are not large enough for even one hen to spread her wings,” he writes.

While Pitt chose to take his plight privately, however, left-wing comic Bill Maher tackled the issue by writing an op-ed for The New York Times.

In a piece called ‘Free the Hens, Costco!’ Maher praises the chain for, among other things, its generous wage policy and its support of gay rights, but says he doesn’t understand how Costco justifies its policy of keeping chickens in such atrocious conditions.

“Make no mistake about it: Battery cages torment animals,” he says. “Physically, the animals’ muscles and bones waste away from lack of use, just as yours would if you were unable to move around for two years.

“That’s why multiple investigations into battery cages document animals with deteriorated spinal cords, some who have become paralysed and then mummified in their cages.”

He ended his piece condemning the chain for sticking with this ‘hideously outdated and cruel’ practice.

The two join professional nice guy Ryan Gosling, who stood up to the company last month over the same policy.

Costco has defended its policy before, having claimed that it is actually looking out for the hens by keeping them locked up.

In a June statement they said “there are vigorous debates about animal welfare and laying hens. Some, such as the Humane Society, advocate that hens be ‘cage free’ and not confined in cages. Some advocate that cages are safer for hens.”