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Rid campus eateries of battery cage eggs

Letter to the Editor | Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Everyday many of us ponder what we can do to make the world a better place. We want to join multiple clubs or volunteer for many issues, but time constraints hold us back.

Before we give up we should consider another alternative to ease suffering in the world simply by exercising our purchasing power. There is a growing movement on college campuses to do just that by asking dining services to switch to cage-free eggs.

The eggs bought by Notre Dame come from hens confined in battery cages. These hens spend their lives crammed in barren, wire cages. In this system, each hen is afforded only sixty-seven square inches of space – less than the size of a single piece of notebook paper. Even though Notre Dame profits from these hens, the animals aren’t even afforded the most basic of comforts. In battery cages hens cannot fulfill many of their most important natural behaviors such as pecking, nesting or even spreading their wings.

Fortunately, more people and colleges – over 90 so far – are realizing that animal welfare standards need to be higher and are buying cage-free eggs from Certified Humane Raised and Handled egg producers. Hens in these facilities are still kept indoors but they are free to move around, to peck and to nest.

These facilities are inspected for compliance with stringent, science-based standards for animal welfare and egg safety.

So why hasn’t Notre Dame started supporting higher animal welfare standards by purchasing eggs from cage-free facilities?

Dining services is using the unfounded excuse that they are concerned about food safety. Every major grocery store in the United States offers cage-free eggs. The two largest natural food store chains in the country, Whole Foods Market and Wild Oats Marketplace, exclusively offer cage-free eggs. Bon Appetit Management Company is phasing in the exclusive use of cage-free eggs in all 400 of its cafeterias, including the corporate headquarters of Yahoo, Adidas and Cisco.

Yet these eggs are not good enough for Notre Dame?

Over the years, students at Notre Dame have led this school to make purchasing decisions based on compassion and decency. A move to rid campus cafeterias of battery-cage eggs is long overdue.

Julie NicholsseniorCavanaugh HallApril 12