These people can go to hell. Welfarists? Sure. Animal rights advocates, no way. When you’re fighting for someone’s rights you don’t pat oppressors in the back for oppressing them “less”.
No, this isn’t a step “in the right direction”. It’s a step backwards. People are starting to feel comfortable at the idea of exploiting others in a “humane” way. If you’re an organization that (supposedly) fights for animals and you stamp a seal of approval in a “humane” product, people are going to infer that you can fight for animals and exploit them at the same time.
What this type of organizations do is to say “we should stop using animals”, and then they call cage-free eggs a victory… but then they add “we don’t promote buying eggs, even if they’re cage-free”. How much sense does it make? How long are they going to keep confusing people? Their public is people who do care about animals. They just need to make the connection and see that you can’t care about animals while eating and using them (no matter how “humanely” they’ve been treated before). Instead of educating people on veganism (which is the only rational position if we’re talking about animal rights), they waste their time and people’s money fighting for bigger cages. And they think people are going to go vegan after that?
Get real. The only people who will never, ever go vegan are those who don’t care about animals. And those guys don’t give a shit about cage-free products and animals-that-were-patted-on-their-heads-before-turning-into-steak. Just focus on those who do care instead of sending contradictory messages.