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Grand Valley State University Student Receives 2010 Humane Society of the United States Student Leadership Award

In recognition of her work to improve the lives of farm animals by successfully working with campus dining services to switch to cage-free eggs, The Humane Society of the United States is awarding Grand Valley State University senior Lena Spadacene with its Student Leadership Award.

The award recognizes students who have made tangible progress in reducing animal suffering and advancing animal welfare on their campuses in 2010.

“The Humane Society of the United States applauds Lena’s efforts to improve animal welfare on campus,” stated Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States. “Her drive and determination are admirable, and led to a better life for hens who produce eggs for Grand Valley.”

As the president of the Humane Society of Grand Valley State University (HSGV), Lena worked closely with the Campus Dining Sustainability Manager, Ethan McCann, on making the transition to cage-free eggs. Under Lena’s leadership, HSGV gathered thousands of petitions and met multiple times with dining services, and together with Ethan McCann, arranged for GVSU to become the first Michigan university to switch to exclusively using cage-free eggs.

In 2009, Michigan became the second U.S. state to pass a law to outlaw cage confinement of hens and in 2010, California enacted a law requiring that all whole eggs sold statewide be cage-free by 2015 (regardless of where they are produced).


  • U.S. factory farms confine about 280 million hens in cages so small each bird has about as much space as a sheet of paper. Extensive scientific research confirms this causes suffering and threatens food safety.
  • 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 percent of Americans believe that food companies that require their suppliers to treat farm animals better are doing the right thing.


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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