College closer, but not eggsactly ethical

by Beacon Staff • February 24, 2011

At issue:

Emerson's progress toward more cage-free eggs

Our take:

Students need to keep pressure on school

Welcome to another scrambled chapter of an eggscrutiating saga.

Last Thursday, the college proclaimed “Emerson Dining Hall Switches to Cage Free Eggs” on its website. In fact, only a small percentage of the eggs the college purchases--whole eggs, still in the shell--would be cage-free. Eggs you get scrambled, in an omelet or as part of a breakfast sandwich remained as they had been--unethical. To say the college was cage-free was tantamount to saying McDonald’s Happy Meals were healthy once they added the option of a couple apple slices.

Six days later, the college corrected course, informing the Beacon that “liquid eggs” (eggs purchased after having been cracked) in the dining hall would also be cage-free. The school will still serve battery cage eggs in the Emerson Cafe and the Paramount Center. But Carole McFall, Emerson’s director of media relations, said the school is in the process of finding cage-free vendors to replace the current battery cage ones.

So at this point the college is going to be mostly cage free “shortly after spring break.”  This turnaro

und is largely thanks to the SGA and alumnus David Coman-Hidy. The SGA has made cage-free eggs a priority its agenda numerous times, and voted to have a representative (Ethan Silverstein, the Class of 2012 Senator) sit in on the college’s business services meetings as the college works to go completely cage-free.

At Emerson, animal suffering and environmental damage are so far removed from our daily lives, they sometimes seem theoretical. Short of bringing caged animals to the dining hall, it’s all too easy for students to be eggnostic on the value of cage-free eggs as they wait in line for their omelet.

But Emerson’s commitment to be substantially more cage-free is evidence a problem needn’t be out of mind just because it is out of sight. After months of student work, we have broken ground on this problem. There is progress still to be made and it is up to our college to ensure the logistics fall into place. But it is up to us students to question administrators, because if experience is any indicator of the future, these initiatives tend toward entropy. The school can be concerned about doing the thing right, but we must ensure it is doing the right thing.