Grubby Thoughts: Be a Good Egg…

…and stick with Free Range.

This week (13/11/13) some papers reported on recent research suggesting that free range isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. In 2012 the EU rightly banned the use of barren battery cages for keeping hens in, these cages would pack 6 birds into a cramped cage giving them no room to move. The ban came in after high profile campaigning which also led to many British shoppers changing their habits and making the switch to Free Range eggs which now make up over 50% of egg sales. This is now being threatened by ‘enriched cages’.

Enriched cages are the battery cage replacement. The term ‘Enriched’ is laughable. The extra space is little more than a postcard sized area for each hen, which means they still don’t have enough space to do what comes naturally to them (stretching their wings for example). These are still cages, they are stacked high, and there are now 70 birds per cage.

Yes, there is a nest box and a few perches, but this is one nest box per cage of 70 hens and very, very limited perching of which many hens are getting sores on their feet due to not wanting to stand on wire all day and not having the ability to move around in open space and scratch as they should.

Any idea that these new cages are better for the hens is a foolish one. Any report that suggests you shouldn’t buy free range should be ignored. A hen needs open space, sunshine, fresh air, room to fly a little, flap around, have a scratch and roam. She needs to feel comfortable and protected, just as we do. If they can sleep easy, then so can you. So stick with your slightly higher priced free range and organic eggs and rest assured that you’re helping hens to have a happier life. We are a nation of animal-lovers after-all.

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5 thoughts on “Grubby Thoughts: Be a Good Egg…

  1. We raise our own chickens and just love to watch them run about and roll in the dirt and chase the bugs. The eggs are so wonderful and the chickens are so wonderful to have as part of our lives. I HATE what we do to our animals these days……..no wonder karma punishes us with storms and floods, we need to have much, much more respect for our other living partners on this planet!

  2. Reblogged this on My Life is really in the Garden and commented:
    Good post. I spoke with someone who works at a local health food store. She commented that when she went to a local farm, to purchase “free range” eggs .. she was told that the eggs were sold out and so the worker went to the area where the hens were kept. Dirty area with the hens in a small enclosure, crowded. Terrible. I want to search local egg sources to see what the conditions are like. Thus far, I know that Rabbit River eggs are good (expensive) but they treat their hens respectfully.

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