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The University of California (UC) system recently announced that eight of its ten schools will now purchase eggs from certified higher welfare farms. Eggology—a company that sells Certified Humane cage-free eggs—will supply these schools with all of their liquid eggs. The UC is the first major university system to make such a significant commitment to animal welfare for a major commodity product like eggs. This game-changing decision to source only certified higher welfare eggs will improve the lives of tens of thousands of hens.
Colleges and universities across the country feed millions of students each year. As demand for higher welfare animal products increases, schools are responding by seeking more humane and sustainable sources for their products. As a direct result of their purchasing power, universities play an essential role in creating a greater market share of higher welfare products.
Farm Forward commends the UC system for taking a leadership role in supporting more humane and sustainable farms. As part of our broader work to help schools and businesses find alternatives to factory farmed animal products, we worked directly with UC to help identify higher welfare poultry products for their schools. Based on the amount of liquid eggs purchased across four of the UC campuses, we estimate that this decision will impact the lives of nearly 25,000 factory farmed hens per year. This new contract will not only improve the lives of tens of thousands of animals, but also send a message that raising animals in higher welfare conditions is important to now important to consumers.
This commitment marks a major improvement in animal welfare for nearly all UC campuses. Until this announcement nine of the UC campuses were purchasing commodity or cage-free eggs. The exception was UC Berkeley, which has been sourcing Certified Humane organic eggs for several years. Now every UC campus except for UCLA—which has chosen to stay with an egg product that is not Certified Humane—will provide certified higher welfare eggs. The UC system sends a powerful message that animal welfare and transparency play a crucial role in determining the campuses will wield their buying power. According to Eric Pollack, Food and Hospitality Commodity Manager for UCOP, “The UC is committed to providing healthy and sustainable food on our campuses because we know it reflects the values of our students, faculty, and staff. By taking a lead in this movement we hope to help change food production in ways that make it fair and humane.”
We agree with Eric and know that the example set by the UC system will encourage other schools and institutions to follow suit. As Farm Forward works to change the way America eats and farms, we’ll continue to support organizations and institutions seeking to find alternatives to factory farmed products.
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August 17, 2016