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November 5, 2009

Au Bon Pain Hatches Cage-Free Egg Policy in Mass.

The Humane Society of the United States

Boston-based ABP Corporation — which operates the Au Bon Pain restaurant chain — announced its new cage-free egg policy for its Massachusetts locations. Beginning this week, its restaurants throughout the state will only use shell (whole) eggs from hens not confined in cages.

The Humane Society of the United States worked with ABP to help the company improve animal welfare in its supply chain. Today, The HSUS applauded the company for adopting a forward-looking policy, which steers away from using eggs from hens confined in tiny battery cages that provide each hen less space than a sheet of paper for her entire life.

"By switching to cage-free eggs in its Massachusetts locations, Au Bon Pain has taken an important step away from cruel battery cages," said Josh Balk, outreach director of The HSUS' factory farming campaign. "It's hard to imagine a more miserable existence for a bird than being crammed in a cage so small, she can't even spread her wings."

Many national restaurant chains — including Burger King, Red Robin, Wendy's, Quiznos, Denny's, Hardee's and Carl's Jr. — have also started using cage-free eggs.

In a landslide vote last year, nearly 64 percent of California voters passed the Prevention of Farm Animal Cruelty Act, criminalizing battery cage confinement statewide (with a phase-out). And last month, Michigan's governor signed legislation that similarly phases out battery cages.

Facts

  • U.S. factory farms confine about 280 million hens in barren battery cages so small, they can't even spread their wings. Extensive scientific research confirms this causes suffering.
  • Cage-free hens generally have two to three times more space per bird than caged hens. 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.

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The Humane Society of the United States is the nation's largest animal protection organization — backed by 11 million Americans, or one of every 28. 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.

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