I recently moved to Portland because I was attracted to its compassionate community and this sense that everyone truly cares for one another. I’ve observed this in many ways, whether by waking up and seeing a heart from the Valentine’s Day bandit on my apartment building, the pride flags that line businesses throughout town or the locally raised food at grocery stores like Portland Food Co-op.

I can tell that Portland cares about moving in a more compassionate direction, even through the lens of animal welfare.

That brings me to an investigative report just published by the nonprofit The Humane League, which reveals the immense animal suffering hidden in our everyday food. Most eggs still come from hens who spend their entire lives packed into battery cages, with no ability to move, spread their wings, or engage in any natural behaviors. These friendly, social creatures never see the light of day. Fortunately, many of us don’t want to participate in this extreme and unnecessary animal cruelty, and companies are taking note; many have already switched to sourcing exclusively cage-free eggs, and others are transitioning.

However, 21 major food companies made empty promises to consumers, publicly pledging to go cage-free but then failing to follow up on their promises. Armed with The Humane League’s list, we can now choose to support companies that share our collective concern for these animals who give us so much. We can buy locally from Maine growers, and take action to hold these companies accountable, as directed by this report.

Olive Wilkes

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