Sodexo: Bad Eggs?

As you stand in line in Frank Dining Hall to order an omelette or a fried egg, you can’t help but notice Sodexo’s sign proudly declaring that all of their shelled eggs are 100 percent cage-free. Unfortunately, according to the Humane League, the shelled eggs make up only a tiny portion of the eggs that Sodexo uses. All the rest come in liquid form and are sourced from battery-cage farms.

Battery cages are 18 by 20 inch barren wire cages, usually housing about five hens per cage. The cages are so cramped that the birds are virtually unable to move. They can’t even spread their wings. Each hen has less space than a sheet of paper in which to live her life. The birds suffer tremendously, both mentally and physically. Countless birds suffer spinal cord deterioration, which paralyzes them and leads them to die of dehydration. This is such a common occurrence in the industry that they have a term for it: “cage fatigue.” Battery cages are the cruelest factory farming system and have been banned throughout the European Union. Some states are also starting to ban the use of battery cages in factory farms. California’s Prevention of Farm Animal Cruelty Act requires that all California egg producers phase out their use of battery cages. So why is Sodexo refusing to stop supporting a practice that is outdated, cruel and now becoming illegal?

Battery cages aren’t only bad for the hens; they’re bad for us. The Center for Food Safety Senior Attorney Paige Tomaselli has stated that battery cage eggs are 25 times more likely to be contaminated with salmonella than their cage free counterparts. Scientists believe that the higher rate of salmonella in battery cage hens is due to higher rates of stress among the birds, the difficulty of disinfecting the cages (salmonella can live up to 2 years in bird feces), a greater volume of fecal dust and more rodent and insect disease vectors. These are the places from which Sodexo supplies the vast majority of their eggs.

 Battery cages have been condemned by every major environmental organization and animal welfare organization. Why does Sodexo continue to purchase eggs from farms that are so harmful to the animals, the environment and us? Unless Sodexo stops supporting such an unsustainable and cruel practice, we need to ensure they are kicked off of Colgate’s campus. 

The students and the public agree. In only a week after its launch, the petition against Sodexo has gained more than 80,000 signatures, and students all over the country are petitioning to have Sodexo removed from their campus. As we’ve seen this year, Colgate students don’t stand for injustice. So speak up for those who don’t have a voice: tell Sodexo to stop using battery cages or get off our campus!