Bon Appétit has taken a step against animal cruelty within the food industry.

Last week, the company — which manages Penn’s dining system — announced a nationwide change in its animal welfare policy. Bon Appétit will require that its 3 million pounds of pork used annually come from sources that do not use gestation crates, in addition to other changes.

Gestation crates are small cages that are about the size of the pigs they encage.

“These cages are so small that pigs can’t even turn around, and they’re confined in them,” said Josh Balk, spokesperson for the Humane Society of the United States, which released a statement last week supporting Bon Appétit’s policy change.

In addition, the new policy will require that pre-cracked eggs used in food preparation come from cage-free hens.

These changes will have consequences at all of Bon Appétit’s 400 dining locations throughout the country, including Penn.

Penn’s dining services currently get their food from hundreds of different sources, resident district manager for Bon Appétit Stephen Scardina said. Penn will now be required to ensure that all of the sources from which it gets its food meet the new guidelines.

The University will have until 2015 to comply with the new regulations.

Some students reacted to this change in this policy with cautious optimism.

“We think this is better than nothing, but if we do care about animals, we need to make some other changes that have more of an on-the-ground impact,” College senior president of the Penn Vegan Society Victor Galli said.

Others shared Galli’s sentiment.

“I think it’s really good that they’re aware and that they even care about it at all,” College freshman Casey Li said. “[But] I don’t want people to be satisfied. I don’t want people to think that it solves the problem.”

Balk said the announcement marks a “significant” step forward for both Bon Appétit and Penn.

“There’s no food service company of Bon Appétit’s size or larger that even comes close to what they are doing to help animals,” Balk said. “Bon Appétit’s management has set the bar in the food industry for ensuring that animals and their supply chains aren’t abused in the worst possible manner.”

Bon Appétit’s emphasis on sustainability is one of the reasons why Penn chose to begin working with the company in 2009, Business Services spokesperson Barbara Lea-Kruger said.

“They’re one of the leaders in sustainable food services,” she said.

“Having Bon Appétit management company as a food service provider fits perfectly with the values and core beliefs of the campus community,” Balk said.

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