In February, Sodexo, Inc., a leading quality of life services company in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico, announced that it will eliminate the use of veal crates from its supply chain by 2017 and extend its previous commitments to source all of its eggs from cage free hens by the end of 2020.
The policy change was the result of an aggressive animal rights advocacy campaign facilitated by The Humane League, a national nonprofit animal advocacy organization with the mission to save as many animals’ lives and reduce as much animal suffering as possible.
The Humane League’s Sodexo campaign was the organization’s single largest victory to date improving the lives of 750,000 hens each year once the policy is in place. Working to effect change at the both the individual and institutional levels, The Humane League’s data-driven, cost-effective strategies are designed to raise awareness of the cruelties of many modern agribusiness practices and improve the welfare of billions of farmed animals currently within the factory farm system. With Sodexo’s broad geographic scope, the changes initiated by The Humane League pave the way for the entire industry to follow suit.
“The Humane League may be a smaller nonprofit organization, but we have a big impact on the farming industry and facilitate system-wide change,” says David Coman-Hidy, executive director of The Humane League. “We are very proud that our organization can make major changes at some of the world’s largest food corporations with limited financial investments driving our national campaigns. The Humane League has built a strong grassroots presence via our national network of regional organizers who engage local activists and rally student support on campuses. This gives us an exceptionally large reach for such a small organization.”
The Humane League’s advocacy strategies are guided by research and refined by a focus on bottom-line results and accountability. Programs are data-driven and informed by the latest research within social psychology. Given the enormous scope of factory farming, The Humane League prioritizes enacting far-reaching changes as cost-effectively and quickly as possible. In-house research by the Humane League Labs, a research project of The Humane League, guide which messages, images, and approaches inspire the most dietary change and spare the greatest number of farmed animals.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), more than 9 billion land animals are raised in the United States every year for meat, milk, and eggs, and most of them have little or no legal protection. These animals represent more than 95 percent of the animals used and killed in the United States each year, and because they are largely excluded from anti-cruelty laws, they suffer intensely on today's factory farms. The vast majority are subject to intense confinement where they are denied most basic behaviors and are frequently unable to spread their wings, stretch their limbs or turn around. In addition to welfare issues, factory farms have significant environmental and human health implications due to overcrowding and improper and insufficient waste disposal.
The 280 million chickens raised for egg production are arguably the most abused animals within agribusiness as they endure severely overcrowded, barren battery cages for virtually their entire lives. Battery cages are tightly confined spaces no larger than a sheet of paper that impede hens from spreading their wings or engaging in any of their natural behaviors. This outdated agricultural practice is so cruel that it is already illegal in the entire European Union and several states in the United States.
In recent years, The Humane League has actively targeted this issue by working closely with corporations and universities to boycott farms that use cage systems in an effort to enact broad policy changes from these companies. Through The Humane League’s campaigns, recent victories include commitments from Ikea, Au Bon Pain, Centerplate, Delaware North Companies, and Starbucks Coffee, among others.
“Because of The Humane League’s anti-confinement campaigns, many top foodservice companies and retailers, some who operate across the globe, are now committed to ending their support of facilities that confine egg-laying hens to battery cages and mother pigs to gestation crates,” adds Coman-Hidy. “More corporations are increasingly seeing these anticonfinement policies as an inevitable shift in the right direction, The Humane League will continue to aggressively advocate on behalf of farmed animals.”
ABOUT THE HUMANE LEAGUE
The Humane League is a leading national nonprofit animal advocacy organization with the mission to save as many animals’ lives and reduce as much animal suffering as possible. Founded in 2005 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, The Humane League works to end the worst cruelties of modern factory farming and also encourages reduced meat consumption through public education, outreach, and corporate advocacy campaigns. The Humane League has offices in the greater metropolitan areas of Atlanta, Boston, Charlotte, Dallas, Maryland, Miami, Philadelphia, Seattle, and San Francisco. Offices will be opened in Denver and San Diego in 2015. Funding is made possible through private grants and tens of thousands of supporters across the globe. The organization has ranked as "Best in America" by the Independent Charities of America and named a "Top Charity" by the charity navigator Animal Charity Evaluators for three consecutive years. For more information visit TheHumaneLeague.com.