In late November 2014, an organization called The Humane League reached out to Sodexo Inc., St. Catherine University’s current food service company, asking them to phase out the use of battery-cage eggs. The battery cage farms where these hens are located consist of egg-laying hens kept in tiny spaces.
When approached by The Humane League, Sodexo made no response. The Humane League then created a petition campaigning against Sodexo’s use of battery-cage eggs, which, in response, was signed by approximately 130,000 clients, including students from different colleges.
“In February 2015, Sodexo released a policy stating that they will phase out battery-cage eggs farms by 2020, said Taylor Ford, The Humane League’s Campaign Coordinator. “This policy has impacted the lives of many animals.”
“We initially thought Sodexo was doing a bad job, but they have met our requests the whole way by releasing this policy and now our campaign is over,” Ford said.
“In battery-cage operations hens are given less than a sheet of paper’s worth of space in which to live out their lives,” said Jeff Johnson, faculty member in the Philosophy Department and current Adviser for Advocating for Animals.
“In this kind of confinement, hens can’t engage in natural behaviors like nesting, perching, dust-bathing, flapping their wings and walking around.”
“It is really encouraging to see Sodexo moving away from suppliers who engage in such extreme confinement, ” said Johnson. “This decision will make a difference in the lives of lots of hens and it aligns with the compassion toward animals so many of us share.”
“I think it is important that people do research and ask hard questions about where their food comes from. That is the first step to making sure that your food choices reflect your values,” said Johnson.
Sodexo North America has made a commitment that, by July 2014, all of the 39 million shelled eggs purchased each year will be sourced from cage-free hens, according to Sodexo USA.
According to humansociety.org, “In 2012, Sodexo announced that it would switch all of the shelled eggs it uses to those from cage-free hens by July 2012 in the United States.”
“For the past year, Sodexo has been a leader in improving animal welfare by working to eliminate some of the worst factory farming practices from its supply chain.”
Sodexo won the Humane Society of the United States Award for its efforts to improve animal welfare in its supply chain. As one of the largest diversified services company in the world, Sodexo sets a prime example of a company that works to end the extreme confinement of farm animals in small crates and cages. Although Sodexo was once a food service company that used eggs from battery-cage farms, the company has since done a complete 180 and has worked hard to phase out the use of battery-cage eggs. St. Catherine University is now proudly serving only cage-free eggs to the St. Kate’s community.