ABCs of the benefits from Caged Layers

HSUS develops Cage-Free Ballot Initiative for California.


National Association of Egg Farmers Rallies Defense of Caged Layers


Since its formation in 2014, the National Association of Egg Farmers (NAEF) has defended conventional caged layer systems in producing a safe, wholesome egg.  If you believe in egg farmers know the best, safest way of producing eggs, you need to join the rally that NAEF has created. See the ABCs of this fight launched by NAEF below.


A.Food Safety and Security


Food safety is paramount and the members of NAEF are encouraged to purchase chicks from the National Poultry Improvement Plan SE-Clean breeding flocks and chick papers are tested upon delivery. Furthermore, claims that cage-free improves egg safety is simply untrue.  1.Penn State researchers have found that eggs from small flocks of chickens are more likely to be contaminated with Salmonella enteritidis as eggs sold in grocery stores, which typically come from larger flocks. The analysis of the Salmonella enteritidis present in the eggs from small flocks shows they are the same types commonly reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from human foodborne outbreaks.


 B.Human Health and Welfare

A study conducted by the Coalition for Sustainable Egg Supply reported


 1.The aviary system had dust levels 8-10 times higher than other systems.2.The aviary system resulted in high worker exposure to endotoxin dust particles and reduced lung function by the end of a shift.3.The aviary system also presented ergonomic challenges; hens laying in litter resulted in a lot of crawling around for employees and potential respiratory and infection hazards.

C.Sustainable Egg Production Systems

The rush by retailers and food manufacturers to source their egg needs from cage-free facilities must consider these facts on sustainability.1.The cost to implement new barns for cage-free chickens needed is calculated at $45 perFor 200 million chickens, that’s a capital investment of $9 billion. Cage-free egg production costs are determined to be 36% higher* than conventional.


*Using conventional production as a baseline, aviary production was 36 percent higher in costs, reported the Coalition for Sustainable Egg Supply at the International Poultry Production and Processing Exposition, January 26, 2016.

 D.Animal Welfare and Husbandry

The Coalition for Sustainable Egg Supply reported at International Poultry Production and Processing Exposition in Atlanta, GA on January 26, 2016:

 1.Total accumulated mortality was highest in the aviary (cage-free) system (11.5 percent), due to aggressive pecking and cannibalism. It was 4.7 percent in conventional cages. This results from the hens establishing a pecking order among theirConventional cages reduces the size of this population and thus reduces the stress caused from pecking.2.Keel bone breakage was highest in the aviary system. Increased keel bone breakage was confirmed with New Research at the University of California-Davis. This new research study shows the majority of breast bone damage originates from collisions with perches in cage-free environments. Dr. Maja Makagon, assistant professor of applied animal behavior at University of California, Davis’ Department of Animal Science, noted the increased bone


Don’t Wait to Join

The cost of produce cage-free eggs is 36% higher than conventional cages, but that increased cost is not being supported by consumers everywhere. This California reporter below says consumers not likely to pay $3.50-$4 per dozen for cage-free when regular eggs cost $1.33 per dozen.


See how NAEF has defended conventional caged systems by reading the stories on this website.