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January 12, 2009

Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia Schools Go Cage-Free

The Humane Society of the United States

As animals at the manger go, chickens are not often mentioned in the story of the Nativity. But egg-laying hens became a part of the Christmas story in 2008, when the largest Catholic school system in the country extended some mercy to these animals—among the most abused on factory farms.

The Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia school system, which includes 20 high schools, is now using only cage-free eggs.

These schools join more than 350 other schools across the country that are moving away from using eggs from hens kept in battery cages, where the birds are so cramped they can't even spread their wings. A battery-caged bird spends nearly her whole life in a space smaller than a sheet of paper.

The Catholic Church Supports Animal Protection

The Roman Catholic Church has a number of statements on animals in regard to care for creation including:

"Animals are God's creatures. He surrounds them with his providential care. By their mere existence they bless him and give him glory.  Thus men owe them kindness. We should recall the gentleness with which saints like St. Francis of Assisi or St. Philip Neri treated animals ... It is contrary to human dignity to cause animals to suffer or die needlessly." —from Catechism of the Catholic Church, Part Three, Section Two, Chapter Two, Article 7, 2:2416

Morally and Spiritually Important

"Our food choices have moral and spiritual significance, and people of faith know that it's simply wrong to cram hens into cages so small they can barely move," states Christine Gutleben, HSUS director of Animals & Religion. "The Humane Society of the United States applauds the Archdiocese of Philadelphia for its decision to move away from eggs from caged hens."

Updated May 7, 2009

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