Although Harvard University used some cage-free eggs, students and alumni wanted more humane dining halls serving 100% cage-free eggs. For months, Harvard University Dining Services defended its decision to continue serving battery cage eggs. Then Harvard students started a Change.org petition, and gathered more than 7,000 signatures. They enlisted the support of major donors who pledged to withhold donations from the university unless they went cage-free. The students even talked to the university president, who expressed his support for their campaign. On October 17, HUDS acknowledged that "customers have expressed a strong interest in this change" and announced that by the end of October, all of Harvard's eggs - both shell and liquid - would be cage-free, the equivalent of 1.8 million eggs.
Harvard University currently buys eggs from cruel and unsustainable "battery cage" egg farms—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. Battery cages are so cruel that they have been banned in California, Michigan, Ohio and throughout the European Union. There is currently a bill in the Massachusetts state house that will make battery cages illegal to use, and the Cambridge city council passed a resolution asking Cambridge residents and business to use only cage-free eggs.
The Center for Food Safety and the Consumer Federation of America have both supported a ban on battery cages due to the drastically increased risk of salmonella contamination and other human health risks. Groups like the ASPCA and the Humane Society of the US. Battery cage farms have also been condemned as unsustainable by environmental organizations like the Sierra Club and Natural Resources Defense Council because of their serious impact on air and water quality.
Hundreds of other colleges and universities have already made a switch to cage-free, including local schools like Brandeis, Emerson, Lesley, and Bay State, as well as Yale and hundreds of other universities across the country. It's time for Harvard University to make the committment to go cage-free just like these many schools have already done! Please sign the petition asking Harvard University to go cage-free! Sharing this petition on your Facebook would also be extremely helpful!