DC Universities Going Cage-Free


The Washington Post today reports that Georgetown University has agreed to serve only cage-free eggs in its dining halls. American and GW have also eliminated the use of eggs from caged birds.

Georgetown students began petitioning the school eight months ago to switch to eggs raised in a more humane fashion. Most eggs eaten in the US come from hens confined in barren, wire “battery cages” so restrictive the birds don’t even have enough space to spread their wings. With no opportunity to engage in many of their natural behaviors, including nesting, dust bathing, perching, and foraging, these birds endure lives wrought with suffering. No federal law protects the treatment of poultry.

In an article in the Hoya, Michael Basile, director of food and beverage, stated: “Georgetown University is deeply concerned about animal welfare and consequently is proud of our switch to cage-free eggs.”

I think it’s great that college students are taking a lead on this issue, as they have in anti-sweatshop campaigns and other progressive causes. Apparently, American University students have even had a national impact by persuading their campus’ dining services contractor to switch to cage-free eggs. Bon Appetit ultimately decided to phase out the use of regular eggs at all of its 200 university and corporate cafeterias across the country and switch to cage-free eggs by the end of the year.

Those of us who aren’t in college anymore can do our part by buying cage-free eggs, and just reducing our consumption of eggs outright. Trader Joes is in the process of switching its own brand of eggs to cage-free.

I agree with Paul Shapiro of the Humane Society of the US that supporting cage-free eggs shouldn’t be a controversial subject. As he said, “There are many people not opposed to killing and eating animals, but they are opposed to treating them cruelly and abusively while they are alive.”

For more information on the egg industry, the local organization Compassion Over Killing has a well-documented and informative report.

photo by cok.

2 Comments so far

  1. Tom Mills (unregistered) on February 1st, 2006 @ 6:10 am

    That’s good to see… compassion aside, there are also many health risks associated with battery cage produced eggs. The effects on the birds are horrendous, for sure…

    That said, I think a preponderance of people don’t really care about how the animals are treated (yes, jaded view, but in my experience, a quite real view), so you have to make it an argument about human health and welfare or make it an economic one (unlikely, since the whole reason why farmers moved to battery cages was cost – perceived or real). Good for Gtown and good for you…

  2. Jenn L (unregistered) on February 1st, 2006 @ 10:44 am

    I always buy cage-free, and free-range as well. I’d rather not eat something that spent a miserable life squeezed into tight spots rubbing sores and wading through its own shit all day…

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