(August 19, 2010)—The Humane Society of the United States praises The International Culinary Schools at the Art Institutes for its new initiative that involves switching to cage-free eggs in its student-run restaurants.
"The International Culinary Schools at the Art Institutes has demonstrated that being an innovative culinary leader involves taking animal welfare and sustainability seriously," said Kristie Middleton, corporate outreach manager of The HSUS' factory farming campaign. "The Humane Society of the United States applauds the schools for taking a stand against keeping hens confined in cages so small they can't even spread their wings."
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 form caged hens. The International Culinary Schools at the Art Institutes join other culinary schools such as Le Cordon Bleu 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.
- About 95 percent of egg-laying hens in the United States are confined in cages so small the animals can't even spread their wings.
- 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 battery cages.
- Michigan and California have passed laws to phase out the use of cages to confine hens, and similar legislation is pending in other states. California also passed a law requiring that all whole eggs sold statewide be cage-free by 2015.