5 Reasons Why Hen Welfare Should Ruffle Your Feathers
04/07/2016 03:30AM ● Published by Family Features
Over the past year, the national conversation over animal welfare has grown increasingly louder. Just three years ago, eggs from hens in cramped cages made up 95 percent of the market. Today, major corporations across the country have committed to more humane food practices by moving to cage-free eggs.
While eggs with the “cage-free” label are a step in the right direction, they’re not the complete solution. Cage-free hens still live indoors their entire lives and some free-range hens may not be as free as you think. Unscrambling the egg aisle and understanding egg carton labeling such as cage-free, free-range, organic, etc., is a challenge in and of itself. Although hen welfare conditions have improved over the past few years, it is still increasingly difficult to understand what labels are saying about the way egg-laying hens are treated.
The happy egg co., the first free-range egg brand to be certified by the American Humane Assocation, believes that each hen deserves to live a happy and healthy life. By providing each hen with 21.8 square feet of outdoor space, their hens are free to roam, spread their wings and exhibit natural behaviors on acres of open space.
National Farm Animals Day is April 10th and is the perfect time to think about ways consumers can make informed, humane purchasing decisions when shopping the egg case. As you think about which eggs to purchase, here are five things you should keep in mind:
Happy hens may not be throwing touchdown passes, but they certainly need space to run up the middle of the pasture and spread their wings. The reality is that 85 percent of eggs still come from caged hens who spend their entire lives indoors. The happy egg co. allows access to six football fields of space for their hens to forage outdoors.
Lean on your ‘go-to’ retailers
Consumers are demanding more humane options at the grocery store and nearly 100 major food companies like Starbucks and McDonald's are committing to cage-free, or better. Be mindful of the latest retailer announcements, as these can help you decide where to shop and eat.
The unfortunate reality is the majority of eggs still come from hens that live indoors their entire lives, confined to cages no bigger than an iPad. Don’t be fooled by pictures on the carton, if it doesn't say otherwise, caged eggs are most likely what you're buying.
Can’t stop at cage-free
While cage-free is certainly a step in the right direction, it’s important to realize that the egg industry can’t stop there. Besides, cage-free simply means hens aren’t kept in a cage, but they still never step foot outside a barn.
Know the difference
Organic hens are given organic feed, and it has nothing to do with whether or not they live their lives outside. Organic hens are given feed that is grown without GMOs or pesticides per the USDA standards, but despite the wholesome, all-natural image, most organic hens do not go outside.
Knowledge is power and by committing to shop more humanely, consumers are able to make a positive impact on the lives of farm animals everywhere. Join the happy egg co.’s #FlockingHappy movement, designed to motivate consumers to make thoughtful purchasing decisions in the egg aisle, at flockinghappy.com. For every pledge up to 25,000 made by a consumer, the happy egg co. will make a monetary donation to Compassion in World Farming, the leading international farm animal welfare organization.
Now that you know how to determine whether the eggs you are buying came from hens that are treated humanely, get out there and support hen welfare.