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San Diego State University Hatches New Cage-Free Egg Policy

The Humane Society of the United States is applauding San Diego State University for ending its use of eggs from hens confined in tiny cages that provide each bird less space than a sheet of paper to spend her entire life.

Effective August 25, all shell (whole) and liquid eggs SDSU serves its students are cage-free.

“By moving away from eggs from caged hens, SDSU has taken an important stand against one of the most inhumane factory farming abuses,” said Josh Balk, outreach director of The HSUS’ factory farming campaign. “The Humane Society of the United States applauds SDSU and hopes other schools will follow its lead.”

SDSU’s switch to cage-free eggs couldn’t come at a better time. Amid a recall of a half billion eggs last week, The HSUS issued a statement calling for an end to the cage confinement of egg-laying hens. Every scientific study published comparing Salmonella rates in cage and cage-free operations in the last five years found increased Salmonella rates in cage operations.

SDSU joins hundreds of schools—including UC San Diego, UCLA, San Francisco State University, UC Berkeley, and dozens more in California alone—in switching away from cage eggs in its cafeterias.

“San Diego State University is thrilled to announce our new cage-free egg policy,” stated Paul Melchior, SDSU’s director of dining services. “We’re proud of how seriously we take animal welfare, sustainability, and food safety. Switching away from cage eggs is a tremendous way to demonstrate this commitment.”

In a landslide 2008 vote, nearly 64 percent of California voters passed the Prevention of Farm Animal Cruelty Act, phasing out cages to confine egg-laying hens. And last fall, Michigan’s governor signed similar legislation.


  • 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 cages.
  • Simply by switching to cage-free housing systems, the egg industry may be able to halve the risk of Salmonella for the American public, according to a study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology.
  • Many national restaurant chains—including Burger King, Red Robin, Wendy’s, Quiznos, Denny’s, Hardee’s and Carl's Jr.— have also implemented policies either reducing or eliminating their use of cage eggs. And retailers such as Safeway, Whole Foods, Harris Teeter, Winn-Dixie and Trader Joe’s have enacted similar polices.


Follow The HSUS on Twitter.

The Humane Society of the United Statesis 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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