Aramark is the largest U.S.-based food service company, running dining operations at thousands of locations across the country, including healthcare institutions, universities and school districts, stadiums and arenas, and businesses. Today, I’m proud the company is announcing that it will switch all 20 million pounds of liquid eggs it uses each year in the United States to cage-free by 2020, after working with us. This decision will improve the lives of roughly 750,000 chickens per year and it reinforces the larger food industry trajectory on this issue: cage confinement has no place in the future of the egg industry. I wrote recently that Sodexo had made a similar announcement, so now two of the largest food service providers have partnered with us to the benefit of an extraordinary number of birds.
But Aramark isn’t stopping with this commitment. Next week we’ll jointly announce a comprehensive animal welfare policy that addresses a broad spectrum of issues within poultry, pork, veal, dairy, and beef production.
Back in 2013, we gave Aramark our Henry Spira Corporate Progress Award for its work switching all of its annual 30 million shell eggs to cage free, along with eliminating the lifelong confinement of mother pigs in gestation crates. Since then, it’s built on those announcements, and very significantly so, and we are immensely grateful to the company for this set of commitments.
Aramark and The HSUS both understand and embrace the fact that animal welfare is a key concern for consumers. And we believe strongly that the strong partnership between our organizations leads to the type of outcomes for animals—and businesses— of which we can all be proud.
With Prop 2 having taken effect in January in California – stipulating that hens must be able to lie down, turn around, stand up, and freely extend their limbs – we’ve seen a number of major food retailers and food service companies make cage-free pledges, including Starbucks, Sodexo, and Aramark. We’re looking forward to even more major food companies aligning themselves with contemporary and acceptable and more humane housing systems for animals in agriculture.