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June 14, 2011

Cage-Free Trend Takes Root in São Paulo

Humane Society International

  • Cage-free. Dirk Freder/istock

SÃO PAULO—São Paulo restaurants are joining a major worldwide movement toward improving the lives of farm animals by ending their use of eggs from hens confined in cruel battery cages by switching to cage-free eggs.

In recent months, São Paulo-based restaurants Apfel, Banana Verde, and Cheiro Verde have taken a stand against the inhumane confinement of hens by adopting a cage-free policy. Carlos Beutel, Apfel’s restaurant manager, believes that battery cages are cruel and recognizes how important his decision was to stop purchasing eggs produced on factory farms. “It is worth making this shift to support a just cause,” he said.

Priscilla Herrera, Banana Verde’s restaurant manager, explained, “Our customers are more and more concerned about animal welfare. By making the switch to cage-free eggs, we not only are respecting our customers’ concerns, but also improving animal welfare and helping the environment as well.”

Restaurant Lagoa Tropical has also recently joined socially responsible restaurants in São Paulo by transitioning to cage-free eggs. “HSI is thrilled that São Paulo restaurants are responding to customers’ concerns about animal welfare by switching to cage-free eggs,” said Guilherme Carvalho, HSI’s campaign manager in Brazil. “HSI looks forward to working with other restaurants on similar policies.”

Austria, Finland, Germany, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland have already banned battery cages. A complete ban on conventional battery cages throughout the European Union takes effect in 2012. In the United States, California and Michigan have passed laws to phase out the use of battery cages to confine hens. California has also passed a law requiring that all whole eggs sold statewide be battery cage-free by 2015. Prominent multinational corporations from Burger King to Walmart supermarket chains also use cage-free eggs.

Facts

  • More than 90 percent of eggs in Brazil are produced by birds who spend almost their entire lives confined in small battery cages. More than 70 million hens are living in these conditions at any given time in Brazil.
  • Each hen is given less space than a single sheet of letter-sized paper on which to live her entire life. Hens are unable to engage in many of their most important natural behaviors, including walking, perching, dust bathing, and laying eggs in a nest.
  • While cage-free does not mean cruelty-free, cage-free hens generally have two to three times more space per bird than and are able to act more naturally than caged hens. Cage-free hens may not be able to go outside, but they are able to walk, spread their wings and lay their eggs in nests—all behaviors denied to hens confined in battery cages.

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Humane Society International and its partner organizations together constitute one of the world's largest animal protection organizations — backed by 11 million people. For nearly 20 years, HSI has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education, and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty worldwide — On the Web at hsi.org.

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