Switching our shell eggs to come from hens not confined to battery cages
In 2005 we began sourcing our shell eggs from cage-free hens. A concerned student at a university account had first brought the issue of battery cages in the egg industry to our attention. We learned that in these tiny cages, each laying hen is allotted only 67 square inches of space, less than a standard sheet of paper, on which to live their entire lives. These barren enclosures are so restrictive that the birds can barely move, let alone engage in most natural behaviors such as nesting, foraging, or even spreading their wings.
In addition, battery operations stack literally hundreds of thousands of these hens into very tight conditions, creating massive amounts of manure. This can lead to poor air quality and potentially unsafe conditions for farmworkers, as well significant pollution of surrounding land and waterways.
We think this cruelty and negative environmental impact is unacceptable. We worked with the Humane Society of the United States to create a trustworthy program and decided that third-party certification was important. The egg farms that supply us must meet the animal welfare standards of one of three independent auditing organizations: Humane Farm Animal Care, Animal Welfare Approved, or Food Alliance. Battery cages are not permitted and the housing facilities must include areas for hens to nest, dust bathe, scratch, and perch.
Bon Appétit was the first restaurant company to make a national commitment to cage-free shell eggs and in 2012, we vowed to expand this commitment to precracked (liquid) eggs by the end of 2015 — another first for food service. For us, it’s simply the right thing to do. Hear our CEO Fedele Bauccio and VP of Strategy Maisie Ganzler explain why, in this video for the World Society for the Protection of Animals.