03/18/2016 04:30 EDT | Updated 03/19/2017 05:12 EDT

Loblaw, Metro, Sobeys, Walmart Commit To 100% Cage-Free Eggs

Allen J. Schaben via Getty Images
LAKEVIEW, CA DECEMBER 19, 2014: One of 8,000 brown Leghorn and white Leghorn chickens roams about a cage-free aviary system barn at Hilliker's Ranch Fresh Eggs, a family business since 1942, in Lakeview, which has one barn converted to cage-free and other planned soon Friday, December 19, 2014. Egg farmers are rushing to comply with a landmark California law set to begin Jan. 1 that all but eliminates the confinement of hens in cages. (Photo by Allen J. Schaben/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

TORONTO — A slew of grocery members of the Retail Council of Canada, including Loblaw, Metro, Sobeys, Walmart and others have joined a growing list of merchants saying they plan to offer only cage-free eggs by the end of 2025.

However, the commitment depends on farmers being able to meet the growing demand for eggs from hens not living in cages.

Egg Farmers of Canada, an organization that represents more than 1,000 egg farms, has previously said that wouldn't be a problem as other retailers such as McDonald's, Tim Hortons and Starbucks announced plans for cage-free products.

But with grocery store consumers being the No. 1 buyers of eggs in Canada, it was unclear if that still holds true since the timeline for a complete switch from current practice is 2036, and farmers are proposing enriched cages as well as cage-free alternatives.

Egg Farmers of Canada issued a statement Friday saying it looks forward to discussing the benefits of enriched cages with industry partners.

Enriched cages are larger than battery cages, in which about 90 per cent of Canada's egg-laying hens now live, and allow the birds to exhibit more natural behaviours, the farmers' organization says. They also protect worker and animal health, according to the organization.

However, animal rights activists say enriched cages still pose cruel conditions.

Photo gallery 9 Truths About Factory Farming That Will Break Your Heart See Gallery