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Why Nearly 100 Food Corporations are Going Cage-Free

When you think of an animal advocacy group trying to eliminate factory farming practices, you probably think of PETA. While the radical group gets more press, and has had some successes over time, the Humane Society of the United States has been actively working behind the scenes to get large corporations to switch to using cage-free methods of producing livestock.     

For the past 10 years, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) has focused on bringing an end to the confinement of farm animals, mainly pigs and young cows (future veal) who are kept in crates without room to turn around, and the egg-laying hens kept in cages too small to spread their wings. “[It’s] one of if not the worst forms of animal cruelty within industrial animal production,” says Josh Balk, senior director of food policy at HSUS.

To achieve its goal, HSUS has worked with nearly 100 corporations, including Starbucks, Marriott, and Aramark, and major restaurant chains like Burger King and Panera Bread. In the last few months, for example, the country’s three largest food service providers—Aramark, Sodexo and Compass Group—have committed to switch their collective 1-billion-plus eggs to cage-free. And in late March, Dunkin’ Donuts announced a plan to up their current domestic commitment — 5% cage-free eggs — to 10% by 2016, and to consider the feasibility of eventually going to a full 100%.

How did they do that? By recognizing that you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. The Humane Society reached out to corporate heads and met them as equals, then helped them to see the advantages of cage-free farming practices. They focused less on "us vs. them," and more on the third party that would benefit: the customers. An article at Fortune magazine goes through the Humane Society’s negotiation strategy step-by-step to see how it achieved such breakthrough success. -via Digg

(Image credit: Evelyn Simak)

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Don't drink the Proposition 2 Kool-Aid.
HSUS's promise that Prop 2 required egg factories go "Cage-Free" was a cruel hoax from the very beginning. Here's an excellent report on what has really taken place.
The bottom line is this, millions of hens in California are still suffering in cages.
Far from going "cage-free," the egg industry is currently investing in new cages-as well as simply modifying their old cages.
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I have a brother in law in Canada that runs a large turkey farm. Most of his operation is automated and also keeping the mortality rate low. He does raise some free range birds for those willing to pay for them. Of course free range will mean higher cost as it involves lower production. It's agribusiness, folks, and we (the free world) feed the world.
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Makes it sound so Kumbaya, with these cutthroat capitalists volunteering to lose money for the good of the poor animals. I suppose that's to be expected from "Fortune". Meanwhile, what actually happened is voters in the state of California passed Proposition 2, requiring humane conditions for calves raised for veal, egg-laying hens, and more, and forbids non-compliant eggs or veal from being sold inside the state. Any companies doing business in CA have no choice but to switch their supply chain to humanely produced eggs. And the effect will spread even wider, as farmers across the country must either comply with the California law, or be shut-out from about 15% of the entire US market.
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