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February 21, 2012

Bon Appétit Adopts Strong Farm Animal Welfare Measures

Company Builds on McDonald’s Crate Announcement

At The HSUS, since our founding, we’ve been about the idea of protecting all animals, and that includes the animals used in agriculture. Every animal has the same will to live, and the same interest in avoiding pain and suffering.

We attempt to reach our members and other consumers with this message, so they can eat with a conscience and drive the market in the right direction. But we also work with companies to provide consumers with better options, and in the process, they, too, drive the market. Among the best of them has been Bon Appétit Management Company, which runs more than 400 dining operations for corporations, universities, museums, and specialty venues in 31 states. Since 2005, the company has led the way by using only cage-free shell (whole) eggs, supporting small-scale, sustainable agriculture, offering extensive and award-winning vegetarian options, and more.

Pigs in group housing
The HSUS
Pigs in group housing.

Today, Bon Appétit is making history by announcing the rollout of the food service industry’s most comprehensive farm animal welfare policy to date.

Within three years, Bon Appétit will end the purchase of all pork products that come from pigs bred using gestation crates, all eggs that come from hens confined in barren battery cages (including liquid eggs, which weren’t covered in the company’s previous policy), all veal that comes from crated calves, and all foie gras. The company will also increase the percentage of meat it purchases from farms that receive the highest animal welfare certifications, like those of Humane Farm Animal Care, Animal Welfare Approved, Global Animal Partnership or Food Alliance, and it will continue promoting a reduction in meat consumption as part of its Low Carbon Diet initiative.

For years, company executives have been working to eliminate the worst abuses farm animals suffer. The company’s CEO, Fedele Bauccio, served on the prestigious Pew Commission on Industrial Farm Animal Production, which issued a landmark report calling for an end to gestation crate, battery cage, and veal crate confinement of farm animals. Bon Appétit organized a TEDx event to examine ethical issues surrounding food production that included factory farming’s effects on animals.

The company has also consistently endorsed legislation to outlaw extreme confinement practices in agribusiness, including 2008’s Proposition 2 in California.

Today’s announcement by Bon Appétit is yet another benchmark for others in the food service sector to strive to reach. The company is demonstrating that being socially responsible is not a bromide or a slogan, but an operational principle.

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