By Mike Pomranz
Updated June 15, 2016
Credit: © Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

McDonald’s has announced that they will move toward selling only cage-free eggs in the United States and Canada, hoping to be completely cage-free by 2025. The decision represents a big switch for the fast food chain, which currently only buys about 13 million cage-free eggs a year, a small percentage of the 2 billion eggs they use annually, according to the Associated Press.

Digging deeper into the numbers makes the proposal even more daunting. According to the New York Times, the United States produces 43.56 billion eggs each year, meaning the 2 billion McDonald’s requires makes up 4 percent of total consumption. And now that the burger giant has announced they plan on serving breakfast all day, those numbers are expected to surge even higher. Meanwhile, less than 10 percent of all hens are currently cage-free. It’s easy to see how instituting the change could take a decade.

But advocates of the new policy believe that having a huge consumer like McDonald’s go cage-free will actually expedite the process across the country. “It's a real watershed moment,” Paul Shapiro, vice president of farm and animal protection for the Humane Society told the AP. “It makes it clearer than ever that cages just do not have a future in the egg industry.”