Bon Appetit adopts animal friendly practices

AU’s food services company Bon Appétit will eliminate all food produced using practices that harm animal welfare.

The new program will probably not raise prices next year at Bon Appetit’s dining services, according to the director of communications for Bon Appétit Bonnie Azab Powell, .

Bon Appétit will eliminate eggs produced by hens living in battery cages and pork produced with gestation crates by 2015. Gestation crates and battery cages are among the most significant abuses to farm animals, according to a statement from the Humane Society.

Eggs raised without battery cages cost less than a cent more per egg, Balk said. Pork produced outside of gestation crates might save money too, Balk said.

Bon Appétit plans to “menu carefully” so that meal plans stay the same price, Powell said.

“Bon Appétit is setting itself apart from its competitors in the industry by creating this historic animal welfare initiative,” said Josh Balk, director of corporate policy at the Humane Society.

Hens in battery cages receive a small amount of space to move, Balk said.

“Egg laying hens are confined in barren wire cages in which they can’t even spread their wings,” he said. “Each hen is given less space than a sheet of paper on which to live for her entire life.”

Balk said gestation crates for pigs are so small the pig is unable to fully move for years at a time.

“[The crates are] barely larger than the pigs own bodies … for as long as most students are at American University, a pig will never be able to turn around,” he said.

Bon Appétit announced Feb. 21 that it would begin searching for producers who meet some of the industry’s strictest animal welfare standards.

Bon Appétit hopes to drive its suppliers to change their practices, according to a company press release.

“We couldn’t wait anymore,” Powell said. “We needed to make the requirement and hope that would galvanize more action to go on in the supply chain.”

If the company can’t find suppliers who will meet the standards, students may have to eat other meats beside chicken, Powell said.

“We may have to make some adjustments,” he said. “You may have to eat a few more turkey sandwiches. Right now, the supply doesn’t exist.”

Some students from the AU student group American Vegan Outreach said they do not think the reform goes far enough.

“If nothing else, saying ‘they’re not in crates anymore’ doesn’t keep them from dying,” said Taylor Kenkel, School of Communications sophomore and co-president of the group. “It just sugarcoats it.”

However, School of International Service freshman Katherin Sibel said she is proud of Bon Appétit’s step forward.

“Bon Appétit is taking an initiative,” she said. “They’re incredible compared to other cafés and foodservice companies.”

Bon Appétit operates over 400 cafés at 31 universities nationwide, according to a statement from the company.

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