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October 18, 2010

National Institute for Culinary Arts Hatches New Animal Welfare and Sustainability Initiative: Cage-Free Eggs

National Institute for Culinary Arts at Mountain State University 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 National Institute for Culinary Arts for moving away from restrictive cages that confine egg-laying hens,” said Kristie Middleton, corporate outreach manager for The HSUS' factory farming campaign. “The school should be commended for improving the lives of animals in its supply chain.”

Across the country, culinary heavy-hitters are moving away from eggs from hens confined in cages so small each bird has less space than a sheet of paper on which to spend her entire life. Chefs such as Wolfgang Puck and Guy Fieri refuse to use eggs from caged hens. National Institute for Culinary Arts joins other culinary schools such as Le Cordon Bleu and The International Culinary Schools at The Art Institutes in switching to cage-free eggs.  

These chefs and culinary schools are joining a national movement away from factory farms. The New York Times has called cage-free eggs the food industry's "latest have-to-have-it product." According to the Sustainability Endowments Institute, 64 percent of universities are using cage-free eggs—as well are dozens of restaurant chains including Burger King, Denny's, Carl's Jr., Hardee's, Quiznos and Subway. Compass Group, the world's largest foodservice provider, has switched nearly 100 million eggs to cage-free, and Hellmann's mayonnaise announced plans to convert all of the 350 million eggs it uses in the U.S. to cage-free.

“National Institute for Culinary Arts’ switch to cage-free eggs represents our commitment to animal welfare and sustainability,” said Chef Len Bailey, program director for the school. “Staying on the cutting edge of food industry trends and utilizing the best products is important for our students and for animals.”

Facts

  • U.S. factory farms confine about 280 million hens in 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, 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 cages.
  • Factory farming is a major social issue: A study by food industry consultancy, Technomic, ranked animal welfare as the third-most important social issue to restaurant patrons; an American Farm Bureau-funded report found that 89% of Americans believe that food companies that require their suppliers to treat farm animals better are doing the right thing; and a Citigroup report found that cruelty to animals presents a “headline risk” to restaurant companies.   

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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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