It's creeping up on 10am and you are rushing to the dining hall to grab a nutritious breakfast before the grueling day of classes ahead. The consequences of skipping breakfast can be dire, so many students here at BC opt for something that has protein, HDL (good cholesterol), antioxidants and all nine essential amino acids. Odds are, these nutrition facts are not running through your mind as you impatiently wait for your omelet. But have you ever stopped to wonder where the eggs come from?
BC Dining uses a combination of cage-free eggs and caged eggs. The omelets that get students over the morning hump and ready for a day of classes come from the liquid eggs in the dining hall. These eggs are not cage-free. However, fried eggs on a breakfast sandwich are cage-free. Real Food has taken up a petition to have every egg served at BC cage-free and are spreading the word with their new Facebook page.
President of Real Food Kat Kavner, CSOM '14, began the petition after Liz Tov, a graduate student of the Sociology department reached out to the group. Kavner recounts that, "she has spoken to Helen Wechsler from BC Dining about the issue, and told me that with enough student support, dining would consider make the switch."
Having cage-free eggs would mean an increase in costs for BC Dining. However, Real Food has gotten behind this movement for a variety of reasons, such as animal welfare, human and environmental health and to raise student awareness. A caged chicken spends their entire life in a cage smaller than the size of one piece of printer paper. Cage-free birds have the opportunity to walk, spread their wings and socialize with one another.
Now that you know where your food comes from, why should students care? Kavner sees this as more than an issue about food, saying, "as a Jesuit institution, we should be good stewards of the earth and mindful of how our food is produced. We see this as very much integrated into our Jesuit mission."
If animal cruelty and health risks aren't enough to get you interested in this dining issue, consider this: "We are virtually the last university in the Boston area to make the switch! BU, Berklee, Emerson, Harvard, MIT, Northeastern, UMASS Amherst, Wheaton…the list of entirely cage-free schools goes on," said Kavner. BC Dining has a history of working with students and taking their input to heart, which is precisely what Real Food will rely on to implement the use of cage-free eggs in all dining halls on campus.
As you rush off to class, omelet in hand, it's very easy to adopt the out of sight out of mind mentality when it comes to your food. But the issue of cage-free eggs is not going away. The European Union implemented legislation that is still not a reality in the United States, allowing US farms to mistreat their chickens in horrific ways.
With new Facebook and Twitter accounts popping up concerning BC life, liking this page and showing support for cage-free eggs puts us as college students, "in a unique position of power to elicit awesome change. There's no reason we shouldn't use that power to make our community more sustainable, ethical, and humane!" said Kavner.