Despite a significant drop-off since the 1950s, data shows that American egg consumption is once again on the rise. Today, the majority of commercial laying hens are kept in cramped, caged conditions in factory farms. In cages, hens are unable to move and perform behaviors that are central to their welfare, such as laying eggs in nests, flapping their wings, dustbathing, scratching, or perching. This results in poor quality of life, and significant animal welfare consequences.
How can you help hens?
The simplest thing you can do for laying hens is to purchase cage-free eggs. Although the vast majority of eggs on grocery store shelves come from hens in cages, 35% of eggs produced in the United States are now from cage-free hens. The availability of cage-free eggs continues to grow each year in response to consumer demand and legislation change.
And don’t forget: egg ingredients should also be a factor in your purchase decisions. Foods like mayonnaise, cakes, cookies, and pasta often contain eggs—and unless the packaging specifically says “cage-free,” they likely came from caged hens.