As a loyal Au Bon Pain customer for years, I couldn’t imagine my morning routine without their coffee and breakfast sandwiches. However, I recently learned that Au Bon Pain is sourcing their eggs and meat from animals kept in deplorable confinement systems—battery cages and gestation crates.
I work as a veterinary technician, and while I am committed to reducing the suffering of animals, it doesn’t take a career in animal welfare to see that battery cages and gestation crates are inhumane and outdated. I can no longer support a restaurant whose products are the result of such bleak and unnecessary living conditions for animals.
“Battery cage” egg farms are massive warehouses where hens are confined to cages so small they cannot spread their wings and can barely turn around. Hens live among the feces and waste of other birds, and their feathers are often torn off due to constant rubbing against the cage bars.
“Gestation crates” are cages for mother pigs that are roughly 2 feet by 7 feet, not even large enough for the pig to turn around which renders them immoblized for months at a time. These confinement systems are a food safety threat, as well as a public health hazard.
Nine states have banned gestation and/or battery cages, while the European Union has outlawed these abuses, as well. Many food producers, like Smithfield and Hormel, and Au Bon Pain’s competitors, including Wendy’s, Burger King, Denny’s, Dunkin Donuts, and McDonald’s, have announced their plans to stop sourcing pork from farms using gestation crates; in announcing their decision, McDonald’s released a statement saying the company “believes gestation stalls are not a sustainable production system for the future. There are alternatives we think are better for the welfare of sows.” Many companies have also decided to stop sourcing their eggs from hens kept in battery cages, not simply in the interest of profits but because it is (as a Burger King spokesperson said) “the right thing to do.”
Please send Au Bon Pain a friendly message urging them to join dozens of other retailers committed to sourcing their eggs and meat from farms that do not use these terrible confinement systems.