After months of pressure from animal rights activists to end the sale of eggs from caged hens, Publix has committed to transition to selling only cage-free eggs.

The grocery chain, headquartered in Lakeland, Florida, announced on its website this week that it intends for all of the eggs it sells at its stores to be from cage-free operations.

“Because we take concerns about animal welfare seriously, we have been diligently working with our egg suppliers, industry leaders, governmental agencies and non-governmental organizations to better understand the timing of converting our shell egg supply to completely cage-free, while meeting customer demand, remaining affordable, and maintaining animal health and safety,” the company stated. “In addition to animal welfare concerns, there are several other factors to consider: the higher costs and retail price associated with cage-free eggs, the speed of this industry change, current WIC regulations preventing the purchase of cage-free eggs in the areas where we operate, and the ability of smaller farms to remain in business while making necessary investments.

“We are committed to moving forward with this challenging and complex effort and will work toward being 100 percent cage free by 2026.”

In a blog posted on July 6, Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) blasted Publix for not having committed to a full transition to cage-free eggs.

With the new commitment announced by Publix, every one of the top 25 grocery chains  in the United States has committed to phasing out the sale of eggs from farms that use cages.

A listing of grocery chains to earlier commit to cage-free eggs appears in an infographic on WATTAgNet.