Student Animal Legal Defense Fund Spurs Change
Web Editor - Published: April 23, 2008

saldf cagefree1On March 19th, 2008 the Student Animal Legal Defense Fund, a Delaware campus student organization, asked the Widener Law community to sign a petition that encouraged campus food service provider Aramark to switch to “cage-free” eggs. “It turned out to be a very worthwhile effort,” notes SALDF President Lindsay Berman. On April 9th, after a meeting with Berman and SALDF’s Vice-president Andrew Fabian, Jen Biscoe, the Aramark Manager for the Delaware campus, agreed to make the switch to only use eggs produced by “cage-free” chickens.

Disturbed after witnessing a video depicting the cramped conditions and inhumane treatment that caged chickens endure, the members of the SALDF felt the need to take action. They set up an informational table and urged fellow students and other members of the law school community to sign the petition. Assistant Dean and SALDF Advisor Verne R. Smith noted, “Chickens are highly intelligent and sensitive creatures with sophisticated social structures, yet most of these birds live their entire, miserable lives confined to a space smaller than a sheet of paper.” In support of the student effort, he added, “The switch to cage-free eggs will significantly enhance their well-being.”

Lindsay Berman called the change “a huge step for Widener and for the fight to end animal cruelty of all kinds.” Widener Law joins over 300 hundred schools that have made the switch to either completely eliminate or significantly reduce the use off eggs from caged hens. The Humane Society’s Josh Balk commended the effort, stating, “I’m thrilled that Widener University School of Law has joined hundreds of other schools in taking a stand against the confinement of hens in cages. I hope other institutions follow this positive example.”

saldf cagefree2“I’m excited that now students know the Student Animal Legal Defense Fund exists,” says Berman. In addition to the “cage-free” initiative, the SALDF issued a challenge to members of the law school community to be vegetarian for a day, and a number of students, as well as members of the faculty and staff, answered the call.

As part of Delaware Week for the Animals, Assistant Dean and animal law professor Verne R. Smith will be part of an animal law forum entitled “Using the Law to Protect Animals” from 7-9 pm on Thursday April 24th at Widener Law’s Delaware campus on Concord Pike. The forum, to be held in the Vale Moot Court Room in the Main Law Building, is free and open to the public.  For more information, email Verne Smith at