Dotsie Bausch, 2012 Olympic silver medal winner with Team USA, has joined forces with eight other Olympic athletes from the U.S., Canada and New Zealand to launch Legacy for Animals a campaign urging the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Organizing Committee and Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike to source better food options for its 10,500 athletes and guests, including 100% cage-free eggs and 100% stall-free pork. This request is in line with policies adopted by the 2016 Rio Olympic Games and the 2012 London Olympic Games.
Hens confined in small cages – which is prohibited in the EU and several U.S. states such as California, Michigan and Massachusetts – suffer immense pain and stress. According to Bausch, eggs produced outside of cages in free-range environments contain more protein, vitamin E, beta-carotene and omega-3 than eggs from conventional caged facilities – key nutrients that influence the performance and results of elite athletes.
Like chickens, pigs are also subject to severe confinement, stress and abuse. In the EU and American states including Florida, Oregon and California, the confinement of pregnant sows is banned, saving these social animals from close to two years alone in a tiny crate, repeatedly pregnant and sick from living in their own waste and consuming antibacterial drugs. Bausch notes that when pigs are under such stress, their production of hormones, such as Glucocorticoids, increases, producing a loss of muscle and bone mass and a depressed immune system when absorbed by humans through the pork on their plates.
“The Olympic Games is the most important moment in an elite athlete’s life, so the very best quality of food and nutrition are necessary,” said Bausch, an eight-time U.S. National Champion and former world record holder as a track cyclist. “If the Tokyo Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games are not able to provide the best and most performing-enhancing food, then the city will fall behind from a world that is moving away from confining animals in horrifying and miserable conditions because all of that stress ends up in our food.”
As part of this health-impacting campaign, Bausch has written a letter to Governor Koike and the committee urging the 2020 Tokyo Olympics to align with the policies adopted by previous Olympic committees. This effort is supported by The Humane League, The Humane League Japan, The Open Wing Alliance and the Animal Rights Center Japan – animal protection nonprofits committed to a more humane and healthy Olympics for all. Together, they are also calling on consumers to tell the committee just how much they care via a Change.org petition.
Bausch’s teammates for the Legacy for Animals mission are Rebecca Soni (2008 & 2012 Team USA swimmer who won gold and silver medals), Dustin Watten (2016 Team USA volleyball player), Megan Duhamel (2018 Team Canada figure skater who won gold and silver medals), Kara Lang (2008 Team Canada soccer player and Canadian Hall of Famer), Jennie Reed (2004, 2008 & 2012 Team USA silver medal-winning track cyclist and former world champion), Lauren Fendrick (2016 Team USA beach volleyball player), Tamara Jenkins (2000 Team USA canoe/kayak competitor) and Jo Kiesanowski (three-time Team New Zealand cyclist on road and track).