North Texas Daily

Petition helps spur UNT Dining to implement cage-free eggs

Petition helps spur UNT Dining to implement cage-free eggs

Petition helps spur UNT Dining to implement cage-free eggs
February 09
21:26 2014

Tricia Sims / Intern Writer

With a petition of 500 student signatures, student organization Mean Greens for Animals helped UNT Dining Services make the switch from serving battery-cage eggs to cage-free eggs in dining halls.

This change will bring a $10 increase per meal plan and will be effective as early as spring break.

“We knew we had to gather a large amount of student support in order for Dining Services to get on board with the idea of switching to 100 percent cage-free eggs,” MGFA president and communication studies senior Alexandria Beck said. “By boycotting battery cages, UNT will improve the lives of 8,000 to 12,000 hens every year. The birds no longer have to stand on wire inside a tiny cage for their entire lives and they can do natural hen activities.”

The petition started in the fall when the director of the Humane League in Dallas, Ethan Dussault, contacted MGFA and discussed the possibility of cage-free eggs for the entire campus. The animal advocacy organization then approached Bill McNeace, executive director of Dining Services, and he asked for student input. The group presented the accumulated signatures this semester.

“First, the students identified that UNT was ready and open to change,” Dussault said. “Second, they made a reasonable request. It’s about the students.”

McNeace said Dinning Services has been looking for an egg producer since the fall and have decided on a local company. The cage-free eggs cost twice as much as battery-cage eggs, but the amount needed to supply four dining halls, which serve 30,000 meals per day, will create enough demand to balance out the cost.

“It may not be one of those things that are on the top of mind for many students, but once you ask them about it, I have never had any students say, ‘Oh, no I am against cage-free eggs.’” McNeace said. “I have had many go on the other end and say ‘I am against battery eggs.’”

MGFA vice president and psychology junior Blithe Parsons said right now is the time to spark this transition on campus.

“Students are beginning to comprehend the bigger picture,” Parsons said. “By making this move, we are bringing it closer to home. It now affects us.”

The next MGFA  meeting is Monday, March 3rd at 5 p.m. in the Crumley Hall Conference Room. Upcoming activities can be found of the group’s Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest pages.

Feature photo: Cage free eggs come from hens that are allowed to live outside the confines of a small wire cage. Photo courtesy of Kristen Ontiveros 

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