March 12, 2009
More Vegetarian Options on UC Irvine's Menu
University of California, Irvine dining centers are offering students something new. After working with The Humane Society of the United States, the university is featuring a popular meat alternative on its menu.
UC Irvine is offering students Gardein, a vegetarian chicken substitute, in selected entrees.
"UC Irvine has a strong commitment to fostering social responsibility in our students — many of whom are increasingly requesting meatless meals," stated Paul A. Baca, UC Irvine's executive chef, stated. "We're proud to feature delicious vegetarian menu options like Gardein."
Paul Shapiro, senior director of The HSUS' factory farming campaign, comments, "The Humane Society of the United States commends UC Irvine for offering its students vegetarian meals. Choosing meatless foods is a great way to help prevent animal cruelty and protect the environment."
Last year, Dining Services began using cage-free eggs instead of eggs from hens confined in cages so tiny they can barely move. By doing so, UC Irvine joined more than 350 other schools in moving away from using eggs from caged hens out of concern for animal welfare.
- Meat-free foods are an important antidote to factory farms, which raise and kill more than nine billion farm animals in the U.S. each year. These massive operations pollute our environment, and raising animals for food contributes to global warming at least as much as automobiles, according to the United Nations.
- In a landslide November vote, Californians approved Prevention of Farm Animal Cruelty Act — a new law making it a criminal offense (with a phase-out period) to confine hens in battery cages, pigs in gestation crates and calves in veal crates.
- U.S. factory farms confine nearly 280 million hens in barren so small, they can't even spread their wings. Each bird has less space than a sheet of paper on which to spend her whole life.
- While cage-free doesn't mean cruelty-free, cage-free hens generally have two to three times more space per bird. Cage-free hens may not be able to go outside and may have parts of their beaks cut off, but they can walk, spread their wings and lay their eggs in nests — all behaviors permanently denied to hens crammed into battery cages.
- Gardein is also a supporter of The HSUS, donating products and offering free cooking lessons to chefs.
The Humane Society of the United States is the nation's largest animal protection organization — backed by 11 million Americans, or one of every 30. For more than a half-century, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education, and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty — on the web at humanesociety.org.