Suffer the chickens that reside in cages. That's the philosophy now adopted by the dining services at the U of M. Last month they passed a resolution stating that the 2,800 pounds of liquid eggs the dining services purchase each week will now be from cage-free poultry. The change comes with the ringing endorsement of animal rights group the Compassionate Action of Animals who have campaigned for the cause for over a year.
"Compassionate Action for Animals is delighted that the University of Minnesota has taken the important step of withdrawing support for one of factory farming's worst cruelties—highly restrictive caging of hens," says Gil Schwartz, campaign coordinator for CAA. "This move, from one of the United States' largest universities, is sending a clear message to the egg industry: that battery eggs are simply too cruel for any socially responsible school to support."
Chickens farmed in battery cages typically spend a lifetime in a space smaller than a sheet of paper, which greatly prohibits movement. Though several local schools have already adopted cage-free policy, and many fast food chains (McDonald's, Wendy's, Burger King) have adopted fowl-friendlier policies, the U will be the largest Minnesota school to go cage-free.
Though many agree that cage-free is more human, this doesn't mean that these chickens will be free-range. Though birds may never see actual sunlight, cage-free does guarantee that birds will reside on solid ground, have 3 times the amount of space as well as room to spread their wings.
Though cage-free eggs tend to be more costly (around 4 to 6 cents more per egg) students and faculty won't see a rise in meal prices—the U is "excited" about the change and plans to absorb the cost.