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Brad Pitt Joins Ryan Gosling In Crying Foul Over Costco's Caged Chickens

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Joining the mostly Dreamy Team. (Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)
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Brad Pitt may be unfazed by where Subway gets the ingredients for his sandwich, but where his eggs come from is a different story.

Pitt is joining a growing list of celebrities, including Ryan Gosling and Bill Maher, who are criticizing Costco for contributing to animal cruelty by selling eggs from caged hens. Like birds of a feather, the stars are demanding that the discount store no longer source their eggs from farms that confine chickens in tiny cages. They argue the tight quarters and unsanitary conditions cause significant harm to the birds, according to the Associated Press. In a letter sent today to Costco's CEO Craig Jelinek, Pitt points out that the caged birds suffer atrophy of their muscles and bones from years of immobility.

Using what we can only assume would be a gruffly earnest and stern voice, the Fury actor explains, "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 goes on to say, "In short, cramming hens into cages for their entire lives constitutes cruelty to animals, and animals deserve better."

Last week, Maher targeted the chain over the same issue in his New York Times editorial, "Free The Hens, Costco!" The host, and long time animal welfare advocate, contends:

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Multiple investigations into battery cages document animals with deteriorated spinal cords, some who have become paralyzed and then mummified in their cages...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.

And last month, Gosling demanded that the bulk retailer go cage-free, and we know how seriously he takes his breakfast. Referring to an undercover video from the Humane Society, which allegedly shows the coop conditions of one of Costco's biggest egg suppliers, The Notebook star criticizes the practice, "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."

The stars are urging Costco to make good on the company's 2007 promise to stop using caged chickens for eggs. But in a statement in June, the company sounded a bit on the fence about the issue, explaining that there are "vigorous debates about animal welfare and laying hens." The letter went on to say that, "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."