Positive and Negative Reinforcement Aimed at Better Animal Husbandry Practices

At Bon Appetit, all of our shell eggs come from cage-free operations and our chicken, turkey breast and ground chuck are from animals raised without the use of antibiotics as routine feed additives. Now the State of California and Federal government are considering bills that would force all animal husbandry operations to move in this direction.

H.R. 962 was introduced by Congresswoman Louise Slaughter (D-NY) on February 8, 2007, and S. 549 was introduced by Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA) on February 12, 2007. These bills would phase out the non-therapeutic use of antibiotics and require manufactures to report on how antibiotics are used.

California State Assemblymember Mervyn Dymally (D-52nd District) introduced a bill into the State Assembly that would require that farm animals in the state merely be given enough room to turn around and extend their limbs. The Humane Society of the United States (the organization that helped Bon Appetit develop our policy on cage-free eggs) is urging that this measure be passed. The bill, A.B. 594, would prohibit the following factory farm abuses:

  • Confining egg‑laying hens in tiny cages where they cannot spread their wings
  • Cramming breeding pigs into restrictive crates that prevent them from turning around
  • Tethering calves raised for veal in small crates where they cannot walk or turn around

In a perfect world meat and egg producers would end these practices simply be they are a potential threat to human health and inhumane. However, we don’t live in a perfect world. At Bon Appetit, we have tried to use our purchasing power as a "carrot" to get producers to do the right thing. It seems now maybe there is a need for the "stick" of government regulation as well.

– Maisie Greenawalt, Director of Communications & Strategic Initiatives