Thursday, May 13, 2010

76% in poll want laying hens to be more free

We've been following the ongoing battle between animal rights activists and big agriculture, most recently here and here, and one common complaint raised by animal-rights groups is treatment of caged hens by the egg industry. Now research conducted for the United Egg Producers reveals a plurality of those surveyed want hens raised without cages, Philip Brasher of the Des Moines Register reports on the Green Fields blog. Of 1,000 registered voters surveyed, 24 percent favored keeping hens in the current cages, 44 percent want hens raised cage-free and 32 percent prefer an alternative cage system similar to one used in Europe.

"UEP spokesman Mitch Head says that the survey shows producers who are thinking about changing their operations that there is 'notable support' among American consumers for the colony-type housing," Brasher writes. The survey also tested several different possible names for a European-style system, including including "colony housing" and "enriched colony housing," and found the least favorable name was "chicken coop." (Read more)

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