U. must be responsive to animal rights efforts
Letter to the editor
I would like to clarify a statement made Friday, April 26 in the front-page article, “Students ask University to shift focus from profit.” Rutgers United for the Welfare of Animals supports affordable tuition for all students and the pending switch to cage-free eggs will NOT conflict with the interest of students. Cage-free eggs are a dining budget issue, which is separate from tuition. The referendum we held was recommended and approved by the Director of Dining Services, Joe Charette, who believes that the dining hall should be responsive to the interests of meal plan holders. The results were overwhelmingly in favor of ending the dining hall’s support for animal cruelty, in the form of intensive confinement of egg laying hens. A majority of 99 percent of students voted that they would like to see this inhumane practice ended at the University, with the average student willing to pay 2-3 times the actual cost to make the switch. Why did students vote this way? Most people can agree that cats and dogs should not be abused and neglected. And now more and more people, especially youth, are realizing that the suffering of other animals, such as farm animals, is wrong as well. These animals don’t feel any less pain just because they are used for food.
We took many measures to ensure fairness and soundness, including promoting dates and times in the Targum, on flyers and posters, polling every dining hall, being transparent about the cost, and collecting RUIDs for verification. This scrupulous weeklong referendum was conducted because RUWA is sensitive to the interests of meal plan holders. This was the most comprehensive study into student opinion on cage-free eggs to date and we only ask that the administration should honor that. It’s about time students can have a meal free from the cognitive dissonance between taste and ethics.
Jamie Platt is a School of Environmental and Biological Sciences junior majoring in environmental policy, institutions and behavior. She is a member of Rutgers United for the Welfare of Animals.