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August 4, 2010

The Humane Society of the U.S. Praises UFood Grill's New Animal Welfare Initiative

After working with The Humane Society of the United States, UFood Grill, a chain of "better for you" fast-casual food service restaurants with nine locations in four states, has joined a growing national trend through a new initiative that involves switching to cage-free eggs.

"UFood Grill has demonstrated that it takes social responsibility seriously and should be commended for improving the lives of animals in its supply chain," said Kristie Middleton, corporate outreach manager of The HSUS' factory farming campaign. "The Humane Society of the United States applauds the company for taking a stand against keeping hens confined in cages so small they can't even spread their wings."

Charlie Cocotas, chief operating officer of UFood Grill, stated, "As a company concerned with providing flavorful, healthful and sustainable options to diners, we're proud to be switching to cage-free eggs. Eggs from hens not confined in cages are better for animal welfare, food safety and the planet."

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 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 Sustainable Endowments Institute, 64 percent of universities are using cage-free eggs. Dozens of restaurant chains, including Massachusetts-based Au Bon Pain, Starbucks, Burger King, Denny's, Carl's Jr., Hardee's, 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 the 350 million eggs it uses in the U.S. to cage-free.

Facts:

  • U.S. factory farms confine about 280 million hens in barren 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.
  • Michigan and California have passed laws to phase out the cage confinement of hens and Ohio – the nation's second largest egg-producing state – recently announced its intent to place a moratorium on the construction of any new cage layer facilities. Additionally, California enacted a law that will require all whole eggs sold statewide to come from cage-free hens.

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Follow The HSUS on Twitter. See our work for animals on your iPhone by searching "HumaneTV" in the App Store.

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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