The U must stop supporting cruelty

University of Minnesota stuents can wipe fear and misery off the menu.

Nearly everybody opposes animal cruelty, but it often seems rare that opportunities arise to prevent needless suffering. This semester, students at the University have a wonderful opportunity to take much of the fear and misery permanently off the menu of the University cafeteria system. All this, at a negligible cost.

The University purchases a staggering number of eggs ” more than 700,000 each year ” for its cafeteria system. Right now, every single one of these eggs comes from hens confined to cramped cages; six hens to a cage no bigger than a file cabinet drawer. The birds spend every moment of their lives either standing or sleeping pressed against wire, which often mutilates their feet and rubs away their feathers, leaving most of these hens perpetually scraped, bruised and battered. It takes a hen 30 hours living under these conditions to lay just one egg.

Most of this misery could be cheaply and instantly cut away. All it would take is for the University Dining Services to switch to humane certified cage-free eggs. In taking this step, the University would join more than 70 colleges and universities in the United States that have stopped purchasing battery eggs. The cost for making this switch is truly negligible. For each student spending a year on the meal plan, replacing battery eggs with cage-free eggs would cost less than $7 ” that’s cheaper than just one typical meal at a University dining hall.

So far, the University Dining Services has not elected to make the switch. Students should make their voices heard on this matter, and doing so is easy. All it takes is filling out the comment cards that are made available by the University Dining Services, contacting dining service officials directly with letters or calls and letting fellow students and faculty members know about the campaign.

Over the years, students at the University have consistently led their campus to make purchasing decisions based on kindness, compassion and decency. A move to rid the campus cafeteria system of battery- cage eggs is long overdue.

Erik Marcus is the author of “Meat Market: Animals, Ethics, and Money.” Please send comments to [email protected]