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June 16, 2010

Le Cordon Bleu Hatches New Sustainability, Animal Welfare Initiative: Cage-Free Eggs

Le Cordon Bleu Schools in North America has joined the growing national 'sustainable food' movement through a new initiative that involves switching to cage-free eggs, garnering praise from The Humane Society of the United States.

"The Humane Society of the United States applauds Le Cordon Bleu for its switch to organic cage-free eggs," said Matthew Prescott, corporate outreach director for The HSUS' factory farming campaign. "Le Cordon Bleu has demonstrated that it takes social responsibility seriously and should be commended for improving the lives of animals in its supply chain."

Prompted in part by recent publications and films—like Food Inc., Fast Food Nation, Food Matters, The Omnivore's Dilemma and Animal Factory—many Americans have begun closely examining where their food comes from. A large part of that examination has been into factory farming production methods, like the extreme confinement of hens in cages so small each bird has less space than a single sheet of paper on which to spend her entire life.

The New York Times has called cage-free eggs the food industry's "latest have-to-have-it product." According to the Sustainability Endowment Institute, 64% of universities are using cage-free eggs—as well as dozens of restaurant chains including Starbucks, Burger King, Denny's, Carl's Jr., Hardee's, Cracker Barrel, Quiznos and Subway—have begun switching to cage-free eggs. Compass Group, the world's largest foodservice provider, has switched nearly 100 million eggs to cage-free, and Hellmann's mayonnaise recently announced plans to convert 100% of the 350 million eggs it uses in the U.S. to cage-free. And Wolfgang Puck announced he's exclusively using cage-free eggs for all of his operations.

Facts

  • About 95 percent of egg-laying hens in the United States are confined in cages so small the animals can't even spread their wings.
  • 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, like caged hens, 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.
  • Michigan and California have passed laws to phase out the use of cages to confine hens.

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Follow The HSUS on Twitter.

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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