For most egg-laying hens, it is not an easy life. Raised on factory farms in wire cages, they typically have the space of an iPad to live on for 1.5 to two years—not enough space to do anything other than lay eggs. Josh Balk, Senior Food Policy Director, The Humane Society of the United States, told me that when it comes to animal cruelty, living conditions for egg-laying hens is the No. 1 concern.
In case you missed it, earlier this month Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide announced plans to source 100 percent of its eggs from cage-free chickens across its supply chain by 2020. In an announcement regarding the change, Andrea Pinabell, Starwood’s Vice President of Sustainability, said, “Animal welfare is important to our customers and our company, and many of our hotels around the world already use cage-free eggs.”
Balk says Starwood joins more than 60 other major companies that have made a commitment to transition to cage-free eggs. Among those companies are Hilton Worldwide, Marriott International, Hyatt Hotels and Resorts, and Omni Hotels & Resorts. Last year Aramark announced that it would purchase only cage-free eggs by 2020. Perhaps the biggest egg consumer of all companies, McDonald’s, announced late last summer that it will fully transition to cage-free eggs for its nearly 16,000 restaurants in the United States and Canada over the next 10 years. The decision by McDonald’s is expected to free an estimated 8 million hens a year from tight confinement.
Not a ‘Utopia’ But a ‘Vast Improvement’
Moving into a cage-free environment is not a vacation for a hen. Balk told me that in most cases hens will still not go outdoors and there may be several thousand in a barn. “At least they are able to run around, perch, dust and socialize,” Balk says. “While not utopia, it is a vast improvement.”
Larger companies have set transition goals five to 10 years out in order to give the supplier community time to catch up. “As long as there is a phase-in, the industry can catch up,” Balk says. “We are seeing phase-ins. As long as there is time for producers to renovate, producers can adapt.”
Balk singled out the lodging industry as being a leader in making the transition to cage-free eggs.
As the industry makes the transition to cage-free, there are some that provide their guests with eggs from pasture-raised chickens—an even better option. In a recent post on our Facebook page, the Orchard House, Granville, Ohio, posted an image of a boiled egg all ready to eat. “Direct from our chickens in our field to the breakfast table,” they said. It did look yummy.
It is great to see many in our industry step up to make the change to cage-free. Somebody probably should ask, “What took you so long?” I look forward to reading future announcements about even more companies going cage-free.
Earth Hour & Earth Day
Earth Hour is slated for March 19 from 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. local time. Earth Day is April 22. How will your organization be marking these occasions this year? I would love to know. Call me at (813) 510-3868, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sustain 2016 Conference
I will be moderating a panel discussion at Sustain 2016, the Mid-Atlantic’s Annual Hospitality Conference. The event will take place March 14 to 15 at Dover Downs Hotel & Casino in Dover, Del. The title of my session: “Innovation All Stars: Case Studies of Three Companies Determined to Make Our World More Sustainable.” Panelists will include: William F. Kratzer, Chief Technology Officer, BioHitech; Justin Fishkin, Chief Strategy Officer, Local Motors; and Micah Green, CEO, Maidbot. I will look forward to seeing you at this event.
Who is Your Sustainability Champion?
Green Lodging News is always looking to profile sustainability champions in our Personnel Profile section. If you would like to nominate someone for this section of Green Lodging News, contact me at (813) 510-3868, or by e-mail at email@example.com.
Looking for Guest Columnists
Every two weeks Green Lodging News posts a new guest column on its website. (Click here for examples.) The guest column also appears in the weekly e-newsletter. Green Lodging News is currently in need of industry experts to contribute occasional guest columns. Experts may include consultants, architects, designers, suppliers and those who own or operate green lodging establishments. Columns may be articles that take a stance on a particular subject or be strictly educational in nature. Columnists benefit by having their photo included along with a one paragraph description of their company. Interested in writing a column? Contact Glenn Hasek, publisher and editor, at (813) 510-3868, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Planning Advertising for 2016?
Green Lodging News is accepting reservations for advertising spots for 2016. Many excellent spots are available on the website and in the weekly e-mail newsletter. Many Green Supplier Spotlight dates are also available. Interested in receiving a 2016 media kit? Be sure to contact me as soon as possible at (813) 510-3868, or by e-mail at email@example.com. Media kits can also be accessed by clicking here. Thank you to all of those companies that consistently support Green Lodging News.
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