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January 4, 2011

UC Riverside Hatches New Cage-Free Egg Policy

The Humane Society of the United States is applauding the University of California, Riverside for switching all eggs used in the campus dining halls, restaurants and convenience stores to cage-free, effective January 2011.

With this initiative, UC Riverside is ending any 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.

“By not using eggs from caged hens, UC Riverside has taken an important stand against one of the most inhumane factory farming abuses,” said Karin Olsson, outreach manager of The HSUS’ factory farming campaign. “The Humane Society of the United States commends UC Riverside and hopes other schools will follow its lead.”

UC Riverside joins hundreds of schools across the country that that have moved away from confining hens in cages, including many in California such as UCLA, UC Berkeley, UC Santa Barbara, UC Irvine, UC San Diego, UC Davis, Pomona College and Stanford.

“UC Riverside is thrilled about our new cage-free egg policy,” stated Lanette Dickerson, executive chef for UCR Dining Services. “We take pride in meeting our students’ wishes, and switching to cage-free eggs was a great way to respect their concerns for animal welfare and sustainability.”

California and Michigan have passed laws to outlaw cage confinement of hens, and Ohio’s governor announced his support for a moratorium on the construction of any new cage layer facilities. Additionally, California enacted a law requiring that all whole eggs sold statewide be cage-free by 2015.

Facts

  • U.S. factory farms confine about 280 million hens in barren battery 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.
  • 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 battery cage eggs. And retailers such as Safeway, Whole Foods, Harris Teeter, Winn-Dixie and Trader Joe’s have enacted similar polices.

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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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