Earlier this month, as covered by the Daily Athenaeum, WVU Dining Services made the decision to switch to cage-free eggs, citing efforts to increase sustainability. The decision opened discussions on campus about the pros and cons of cage-free poultry production. Two Davis College professors contend cage-free production is not necessarily more sustainable:
Joe Moritz, associate professor and state extension poultry specialist for WVU Extension Services, said the Davis College was not consulted on the switch to the free-range egg system. In March, Dining Services made a campus-wide switch to the use of cage-free eggs in all of the dining halls and the Mountainlair.
“I have concerns with describing cage-free production as a more sustainable practice that provides improved welfare,” Moritz said.
Based on scientific data, newer cage systems of egg production reduce environmental and carbon footprints, use less land, feed and energy, and reduce morbidity and mortality from disease and hen cannibalism, according to the issued counterargument.
Moritz said representatives from both the Davis College and Dining Services met to discuss concerns about the new system. He said the meeting was positive, and he is hopeful communications between the two groups will be improved in the future.
Paul Lewis, professor and assistant director of Outreach Affairs at the Davis College, said he does not have a problem with Dining Services’ decision to switch to cage-free eggs, but with its justification for doing it.
“If you want to buy cage-free eggs that’s fine,” Lewis said. “But the justification that it is a more sustainable production, that’s just not true.”
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