03/10/2016 14:34 EST | Updated 03/11/2017 00:12 EST

A&W promises cage-free eggs, funds research to find housing alternatives

TORONTO — A&W says it is contributing to research to find better cage-free housing alternatives for hens.

The company says it is granting $100,000 to Farm & Food Care Canada, a coalition of farmers and businesses, to study ways of sourcing eggs from hens housed in improved free-run and free-range systems.

The fast-food chain says no cage-free farms in Canada meet its animal welfare standards and antibiotic-free guarantee, but it anticipates it will serve only cage- and antibiotic-free eggs within two years.

A&W currently buys eggs from farmers who keep their hens in so-called enriched cages, which are larger than traditional battery cages, where roughly 90 per cent of Canada's egg-laying hens live.

Animal rights activists have been pushing for companies to source only cage-free eggs.

Other major burger chains, like McDonald's and Burger King, along with several other restaurants have promised to phase all cages out of their supply chains up to 10 years from now.

The Canadian Press