By Margaret Pepe
The Humane League, a non- profit animal rights organization, created a petition on change.org on Feb. 28 against Aramark, the company that operates the campus’ food service, for the alleged mistreatment of animals.
Aramark provides food for many other schools as well, and provides the food at venues such as Nikon Jones Beach Theatre. The petition implores that Aramark switch suppliers, like some of their competitors have, and stop the use of battery-cage eggs.
Many students may not be aware of the living conditions of the animals that The Humane League alleges Aramark uses for its food. Aramark has been supporting “farms” that use battery-cage chickens to provide their eggs, according to The Humane League.
“When the public, animal welfare experts, and environmental protection agencies are demanding an end to battery cages, there is no reason for your company to remain on the wrong side of history,” The Humane League said in their petition against Aramark.
“It defies animal rights and is demonstrating a poor sense of morality,” said Samantha Heapps, a sophomore Public Relations major. Many universities, such as Campbell University and Corban College, have joined the petition against Aramark for using battery-caged chickens to provide their eggs.
Aramark strongly denies these allegations. “For many years, Aramark has been working in partnership with the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), the nation’s largest and most effective animal protection organization,” said Paul Carroll, Director of Operations at Aramark. “We have taken a number of steps in the area of animal welfare over the last several years, including sourcing 30 million cage-free eggs this year, and only gestation crate-free pork by 2017,” Carroll added. “The reality is that less than 10 percent of the total egg-laying hen flock in the U.S. is cage-free today.”
For battery-caged chickens, multiple hens are cramped into one small cage, with practically no room to sit, let alone move, and are often sick and denied veterinary care, according to the ASPCA’s website.
According to the ASPCA’s website, ASPCA.org, “The frustration of living in such tight quarters sometimes leads to fighting. To lessen the problem, factory farms burn or slice off a portion of the each hen’s beak,”
Campaign Coordinator of The Humane League, Taylor Ford, confirms these conditions. “We knew Aramark was using battery-cage eggs because when we initially reached out to them, they responded that they would consider a switch, hence implying that they initially use battery-caged eggs,” she said.
“We also knew this because it is an industry standard, and if a dining provider doesn’t advertise a 100 percent cage-free operation, we can assume they are using battery cage eggs without question,” Ford said.
Along with creating a petition on change.org, Ford said The Humane League launched dozens of campaigns on social media, in advertisements, and created videos against Aramark and some of their clients. “We also connected with student groups to petition on their campuses for Aramark to be removed,” she said.
“Earlier this month, after a campaign and change.org petition from The Humane League, Aramark’s competitor, Sodexo, made a commitment to boycott cruel battery-cage egg farms,” The Humane League said in its petition.
The petition for Aramark to stop using battery-cage eggs was recently updated as a success, with over 78,000 supporters, as of March 12. Carroll said Aramark “will expand its cage-free egg commitment to include all company purchases of liquid, pre-cracked eggs in the U.S. by 2020, or sooner if supplies become available,” and that “it will take suppliers literally years to change to entirely cage-free production.”
The Pioneer reached out to LIU’s Chief of Staff, Jackie Nealon, for comment; however, Nealon has yet to respond.