For Immediate Release:  May 1, 2003 

Contact:
Josh Bryant 585-739-5860 or jbryant@wesleyan.edu
Joel Bartlett 860-685-6016 or jsbartlett@wesleyan.edu 

Wesleyan University is First American University to Take a Stand Against The Cruelties of Factory Egg Farming

Middletown, CT - On Sunday, April 27th, the Wesleyan Student Assembly (WSA) passed a resolution demanding the elimination of eggs laid in extremely cruel conditions from the campus grocery store, WEShop.  In doing so, the WSA became the first student representation group at an American university to take a stand against so-called "factory egg farming."  Furthermore, the resolution recognized that animal well-being is a legitimate factor in institutional decision-making.  ARAMARK, Wesleyan's food-service provider, has agreed to act in accordance with the WSA's decision.

"By eliminating this source of suffering from WEShop Wesleyan students have expressed their commitment to responsible consumption and compassion," said Lori Gruen, Professor of Philosophy at Wesleyan.  "In a world in which there currently is so much suffering, human and non-human, the students have not succumbed to apathy and despair and have taken a bold step to minimize their role in causing unnecessary suffering."

Factory egg farms are infamous for their cruel conditions - for both hens and workers - and for the environmental threats they pose.

"Up to ten hens are forced to live in a cage so small that one hen could not spread her wings," said Matt Montesano, a member of  Wesleyan's Environmental Organizers' Network (EON).  "Hens are in lifelong pain because up to two-thirds of their beaks are cut off as chicks.  Hens in factory farms are periodically starved for up to three weeks in a practice called force-molting, which attempts to shock hensí bodies into another laying cycle." 

In addition to the routine labor exploitation by the corporations, workers at factory farms are exposed to many work-related hazards such as excretory ammonia fumes from the nitrogen in decomposing bird droppings. The large amount of solid waste produced by factory farms is harmful to local ecosystems, as is the release of ammonia gas. 

"The European Union has banned the installation of battery cages," said Liz Eisenberg, a member of EON, referring to the long rows of stacked cages that hens are kept in, "but the United States has not yet recognized that these conditions are deplorable."

Large agribusiness corporations dominate the American egg industry and drive smaller, sustainable farms out of business.  In Connecticut, KofKoff Egg Farm controls 90 percent of the egg market and is blamed for bankrupting local farms.  Wesleyan's resolution states a commitment to encourage increased cooperation with small, local, certified organic, free-range farmers in an effort to provide students with the most sustainable products and to help support local farmers.

The resolution comes after an intensive, semester-long campaign by EON to raise awareness about factory egg farming.  For more information on the campaign, visit www.wesleyan.edu/wsa/warn/eon

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