American movement against cages grows stronger

02-05-2006 | |

A number of colleges and universities, along with many businesses such as America Online, have reduced or eliminated their use of eggs from caged hens, according to a story in the newspaper USA Today.

Yale, Tufts, Dartmouth, Vassar, the University of Wisconsin, and 80 more schools have made the switch in response to a campaign by the Humane Society of the United States. Caged hens live in battery cages which can be stacked as tall as two stories high, with about six hens per cage. This gives each hen a space about 3/4 the size of a sheet of notebook paper.

These arguments have been used successful in Europe to increase free range production and ban layer cages from 2012.

The US egg industry argues that cages are still a humane system, because conveyer belts remove manure twice a day, and fans keep the air fresh.

Free range hens require four to six times the space of caged hens, making their eggs more expensive. Even so, sales of free range eggs are increasing by as much as 10 to 20% a year. Other specialties eggs, such as organic eggs or eggs high in omega-3 fatty acids, are also undergoing rapidly increasing sales.

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