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Leading Canadian Universities Lauded by Humane Societies for Hatching Cage-Free Plan

VANCOUVER, Jan. 24 /CNW/ - In a landmark move, Chartwells - a division of Compass Group Canada, the largest food service provider in the country - has announced that Concordia University and Simon Fraser University will begin using only cage-free shell eggs in campus food services in January 2008, followed by the University of Ottawa in September 2008. The Vancouver Humane Society and Humane Society International/Canada commended the decision.

Compass Group Canada follows the lead of Compass Group USA, who announced its cage-free shell egg policy in December, 2007.

"Chartwells is committed to reducing our use of eggs from caged hens.This is a first step for our company, and we're proud to be making this significant contribution to improving the welfare of farm animals," said Ross Munro, President of Chartwells Canada.

Approximately 98 percent of eggs in Canada come from hens confined to cramped, barren wire cages called "battery cages." Each hen is given less space in which to live her life than a sheet of writing paper. The intensively confined birds are unable to engage in many of their most important natural behaviours such as wing stretching, walking, dust bathing, standing on solid ground, or laying eggs in a nest. Countries including Sweden, Switzerland, Germany and the Netherlands have all banned the use of barren cages, and the European Union banned barren battery cages by the year 2012. Google, Amazon, Ben and Jerry's, Whole Foods Markets and Capers Community Markets have all dropped eggs from caged hens, and Burger King and Hardees have begun using cage-free eggs. More than 300 schools in North America have either reduced or eliminated eggs from caged hens including the University of Guelph, the University of BC, Langara College and BC Institute of Technology.

"More and more schools are choosing not to buy eggs from caged hens," said Bruce Passmore, Farm Animal Welfare Project Coordinator at the Vancouver Humane Society. "We applaud Compass Group Canada and these universities for helping reduce the suffering of animals by getting hens out of cages, and we call on all Canadian schools to follow."

"The movement to stop buying eggs produced in cruel battery cage facilities is reaching a critical mass around the world," said Rebecca Aldworth, Director of Animal Programs for Humane Society International/Canada. "We commend Compass Group Canada and these compassionate Canadian universities for making it clear battery cages have no place in the Canadian egg industry's future."

Photos and video footage available by request (chickenout.ca)

For further information:
Bruce Passmore, Vancouver Humane Society, (c)(604) 603-5401, (o) (604) 266-9744
Rebecca Aldworth, Humane Society International, (c) (514) 575-6797, (o) (514) 395-2914
Cindy Harris, Compass Group Canada, (c) (647) 262-7927, (o) (905) 568-4636 x 432