Frary brunch just got a little more humane, as earlier this month Pomona College Dining Services (PCDS) made the shift to serving exclusively cage-free eggs. The school’s effort to reduce animal cruelty was praised by the Humane Society in a March 8 press release.
“The process of going completely cage-free was a rather lengthy one,” said Samantha Meyer PO ’10, Sustainability and Purchasing Coordinator for Dining Services.
Last spring, Pomona Philosophy and Environmental Analysis Professor Ann Davis wrote a letter to the New York Times in which she scorned an op-ed about genetically modifying farm animals to reduce the amount of pain they felt while being raised in industrial agricultural operations. The letter caught the eye of the Humane Society’s Outreach Manager Karin Olsson, who suggested that Pomona go cage-free and worked with Meyer and PCDS to bring the idea to fruition.
Under the contract with Sodexo, Dining Services was able to begin serving liquid cage-free eggs in the fall. Now that the dining halls are self-operated, they are able to ensure that all of their eggs are cage-free. Meyer researched supplier options and eventually chose Washington’s Wilcox Family Farms.
“The cost of cage-free eggs is higher, but Pomona College Dining Services is committed to supporting responsible farms,” Meyer said. “We now know that our eggs were produced by hens that were able to move about freely, engage in natural behaviors and have access to the outdoors.”
Meyer pointed out that eating eggs produced by humanely-raised hens also has health benefits.
“Cage-free eggs are safer than conventionally produced eggs, because the risk of salmonella is 25 times higher in caged eggs,” she said.
According to the Humane Society, hundreds of schools serve mostly or exclusively cage-free eggs, including UCLA and Stanford. Many chain restaurants and grocery stores have made similar changes, and a recently-passed California law requires that all whole eggs sold in the state be cage-free by 2015.
At Pomona, Meyer hopes that the new policy is one of many to come that will help prevent animal cruelty and promote sustainability.
“Eventually, we are hoping to go organic as well,” she said.