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Humane Society International Congratulates Orillia and Pickering for Becoming First "Cage-Free" Cities in Ontario

City councils resolve to end their use of eggs from caged hens

ONTARIO (Dec. 17, 2008) -- In a landmark decision, the cities of Orillia and Pickering in Ontario have resolved to improve the lives of farm animals by requesting that all city-run facilities stop using eggs from hens stuffed into tiny cages. Councils also encouraged residents, including restaurants, caterers, retailers and wholesalers to switch to certified organic free-range eggs instead of eggs from caged hens. The move drew applause from Humane Society International/Canada (HSI Canada).

"The cities of Orillia and Pickering have demonstrated their leadership and compassion by resolving to end their use of eggs from caged hens," said Bruce Passmore, director of outreach for HSI Canada. "In doing so, they are expressing their opposition to one of the cruelest production methods in animal agribusiness."

Approximately 98 percent of Canada's 26 million egg-laying hens are cruelly confined for their entire lives in tiny wire "battery" cages so small that the hens can barely move. These hens are prevented from performing many of their most basic instinctive behaviors, such as walking, stretching their wings, dust-bathing and nesting. Countries including Sweden, Switzerland and the Netherlands have banned the use of barren battery cages, and the European Union's phase-out of these cages will be complete in 2012. In November, voters in California overwhelmingly approved a ballot measure that phases out the cruelest confinement systems for laying hens and certain other farm animals.

More than 350 universities and colleges in North America have reduced or eliminated their use of eggs from caged hens in campus food services. In British Columbia, more than a dozen cities have passed resolutions requesting the removal of eggs from caged hens from city menus, and the Union of BC Municipalities is currently considering a similar province-wide motion.

"Going cage-free is about making more humane choices," said Passmore. "Dropping eggs from caged hens off the grocery shopping list is a simple and effective way to help improve life for farm animals."

Alternatives to eggs from caged hens include certified organic, free-range or free-run.

Photos and video footage of Canadian battery and free-range egg farms are available by request.

Media Contacts:
Camille Labchuk: 613-252-4570, clabchuk@hsi.org
Bruce Passmore: (c) 604-780-7765, bpassmore@hsi.org

Humane Society International/Canada is a leading force for animal protection, representing tens of thousands of members and constituents across the country. HSI Canada has active programs in companion animals, wildlife and habitat protection, marine mammal preservation and farm animal welfare. HSI/Canada is proud to be a part of Humane Society International-one of the largest animal protection organizations in the world, with more than ten million members and constituents globally.