Kelseanna Smith is the advertising and marketing coordinator for The Quad, as well as a member of the Boston University Vegetarian Society’s E-board.
Most students, if not all, have attended the Splash event at some point in their college career here at BU. This year Splash marked the commencement of a mission to change the way we at Boston University eat. Eight hundred students signed a petition stating that they are for the end of Boston University’s support of battery cage factory farming.
Why is this something so many students care about? Well, it affects our health, our planet’s environment and the animals we share the aforementioned world with. Hens raised on battery-cage farms will spend their entire lives in a space that is roughly 2/3 the size of a piece of computer paper. They will never spread their wings; their bones will become brittle and break. Not only that, but also the cages that they live in are stacked one on top of the other, causing each bird to ingest the excrement of those living around it. Think the Human Centipede, but instead of humans being sewn together, birds pushed together with wires digging into their bodies.
This causes a serious potential health risk for the human race. In 2009, one and a half billion eggs were recalled because they were infected with salmonella from battery cage farming. According to Mother Earth News, eggs from hens that live on free-range farms contain 277mg of cholesterol and 2.4g of saturated fat – eggs from confined birds, as recorded by the USDA, contain 423mg of cholesterol and 3.1g of fat. It is obvious that eggs from battery-cage farms are potentially dangerous as well as significantly less healthy.
The issue of cage-free eggs not only hurts animals (including humans), but also severely effects the environment. Many of the national environmental protection groups, such as the Sierra Club, National Resources Defense Council, Greenpeace and the National Environmental Trust, support a switch to cage-free eggs. Factory farming is the reason agriculture has been targeted by the EPA as one of the greatest polluters of air and water.
Battery cage farming is illegal in all of the European Union, three U.S. states and is on its way to being outlawed in the state of Massachusetts. So why has BU fallen behind the curb on this serious issue of sustainability, student health and compassion for animals? Mainly because it costs more money to purchase cage-free eggs; yet, the BU dining plan increases in price each year. How much would a complete switch to cage-free eggs cost? It would cost an average of $4 – $12 USD per year. That is at most $2 a month. Aramark, the company who decides the standard of food that is served in our dining halls, is willing to make a switch to cage-free eggs, if and only if they see it as something students support. That is my purpose in writing this article and the purpose which motivates our rallies on campus for petition signatures and survey responses (which you will begin to see more of across campus).
Aramark representatives have stated that their option of cage-free eggs is enough and that students don’t seem to be too interested in taking the option. That “option” is not enough if Boston University truly wants to be seen as a leader in environmental sustainability. It is not enough if we truly care about our personal health and that of our BU community. It is not enough if we truly want to be seen as a school that is compassionate to the animals with whom we share our planet.
Please go to here to find out more on this issue. Contact Kelseanna Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org.