Burger King, Wendy’s, Quiznos, Hardee’s, and Carl’s Jr. are a handful of the national quick-serves that are currently in the process of switching to the use of cage-free eggs, or eggs laid by hens not confined to small battery cages. Most egg-laying hens in the U.S. are housed in such cages, where each bird has less space than a sheet of paper on which to spend more than a year before it is slaughtered.

Greenwood Village, Colorado–based Red Robin Gourmet Burgers Inc., a casual dining chain with more than 300 locations in 40 states, has hatched a company-wide animal welfare policy that will enforce the use of cage-free eggs in all U.S. company-owned stores by the end of 2010. The chain’s phase-in will begin next month, and will be one-third complete by the end of 2009.

“The Humane Society of the United States applauds Red Robin for joining the national movement away from cruel battery cages,” says Paul Shapiro, senior director of the HSUS’ factory farming campaign. “We look forward to working with the company to continue raising the bar when it comes to animal welfare.”

Susan Lintonsmith, Red Robin senior vice president and chief marketing officer, says, “Red Robin’s high standards for quality and unsurpassed guest service remain our top priorities. We recognize that the elimination of battery cages in egg production has become an increasingly important issue in the communities we serve, so we’re excited about our progress towards a supply chain in which all of our eggs are cage-free eggs.”

“We sincerely appreciate the insights and ideas that The Humane Society of the United States has shared with Red Robin,” said Lintonsmith. “We are pleased with their support for our battery cage-free egg commitments and look forward to continuing our dialog with the Humane Society on animal welfare issues.”

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