The Greatest Fraud of 2015 that Cage-Free Improves Chicken Welfare
The following letter to the editor was sent December 23, 2015 to the newspapers in major cities throughout the U.S. and the UK
Egg farmers nationwide are wondering why consumers are not noticing the greatest case of fraud this year with food companies announcing a new policy of exclusively offering cage-free eggs as the means of improving the welfare of chickens. This is simply untrue and any person who watches chickens roaming about on the ground will see the reasons why. Food companies are reacting to the pressure from the misinformation from animal activists that more space means better conditions.
The National Association of Egg Farmers has tried repeatedly to counter this fraud by explaining to the media and to the top food retailers that cage-free systems means more chickens pecking one another in establishing a pecking order. Thousands of chickens loose on the floor establishing a pecking order increases their stress. Pecking is an inherent behavior among chickens. More chickens together, such as in a cage-free system, means more pecking, and those chickens lower on the pecking order are being pecked the most. That explains why cage-free systems oftentimes have three (3) times more chicken deaths than the modern conventional cages. An increase in deaths is hardly better welfare.
Food safety is also a concern. Some food companies have transitioned to cage-free believing it will lead to better quality eggs. This is another fraud perpetuated by animal activists. Eggs laid on the same ground where the chicken manure is located hardly improves the quality of the egg. In fact it likely increases bacterial contamination from contact with the manure.
Cage-free eggs will increase prices. The Coalition for Sustainable Egg Supply investigated the different production systems and concluded the price to produce a dozen eggs will likely increase 36 per cent. Why would food companies wish to increase food prices when the federal government’s recent statistics on food insecurity (not having enough resources to provide sufficient food) reached 14% of total U.S. households and child poverty in the U.S. has increased since the year 2000.
Egg farmers are advising food companies not to adopt this new policy of buying only cage-free eggs because of the misinformation that they improve the welfare of the chicken or that they improve the quality of the egg. Educated consumers can opt for cage-free at retail outlets, but when food companies announce offering exclusively cage-free eggs, their customers, after reading this, will now know the facts too.Dear Editor,