Why Buy Cage Free VERIFIED Eggs
Caged hens also suffer from the denial of many natural behaviors such as nesting, perching, and dustbathing, all important for hen welfare. Numerous scientists and other experts have spoken clearly about the animal welfare problems with battery cages. One such scientist, Nobel Prize winner Dr. Konrad Lorenz, said:
why buy cage free eggs
"The worst torture to which a battery hen is exposed is the inability to retire somewhere for the laying act. For the person who knows something about animals it is truly heart-rending to watch how a chicken tries again and again to crawl beneath her fellow cagemates to search there in vain for cover."
Unlike battery hens, cage-free hens are able to walk, spread their wings and lay their eggs in nests, vital natural behaviors denied to hens confined in cages. Most cage-free hens live in very large flocks that can consist of many thousands of hens who never go outside. The vast majority of cage-free hens live on farms that are 3rd-party audited by certification programs that mandate perching and dust-bathing areas. These advantages are very significant to the animals involved.
"Battery cages present inherent animal welfare problems, most notably by their small size and barren conditions. Hens are unable to engage in many of their natural behaviors and endure high levels of stress and frustration. Cage-free egg production, while not perfect, does not entail such inherent animal welfare disadvantages and is a very good step in the right direction for the egg industry."
Cage-free hens are spared several severe cruelties that are inherent to battery cage systems. But it would nevertheless be a mistake to consider cage-free facilities to necessarily be "cruelty-free." Here are some of the more typical sources of animal suffering associated with both types of egg production:
So, while cage-free does not necessarily mean cruelty-free, cage-free hens generally have significantly better lives than those confined in battery cages. The ability to lay their eggs in nests, run and spread their wings are tangible benefits that shouldn't be underestimated.
Which eggs are healthiest? Why do some eggs cost more? Which housing system is best for the hens? We got in touch with Dr. Darrin Karcher, Extension poultry scientist for Purdue University, who helped us understand about different types of eggs.
Cage-free eggs usually cost more at the store for the simple reason they are more expensive to produce. Special sales and marketing promotions sometimes make the price of cage-free eggs appear more comparable to regular, or conventionally produced eggs.
Cage-free and conventional barns can both provide humane housing for hens, Dr. Karcher said. A study by the Coalition for Sustainable Egg Supply found that each system had tradeoffs for animal welfare.
Cage-free eggs and conventional eggs are the same for nutrition and safety. Cage-free eggs come from hens that live in a type of housing that is different than conventional housing, which is why they often cost more. The egg carton will indicate if the eggs are from a farm that follows programs for the humane treatment of animals.
Omega-3 enriched: Egg yolks contain a small amount of omega-3, a heart-healthy fat. However, providing hens a diet high in omega-3, such as flaxseed or fish oil, can boost the omega-3 content in their eggs. However, according to the FDA, claims that omega-3 enriched eggs lower the risk of heart disease are unfounded, because eggs also contain cholesterol and saturated fat.
Free-range or free-roaming: This means that the hens producing the eggs were raised outdoors or given outdoor access. In addition to eating grains, these hens may forage for wild plants and insects. But the quality of the outdoor area, and how often the hens can access it, is not addressed. Hens living in crowded quarters may not budge when a farmer opens the doors once a day.
The European Food Safety Authority analysed data from over 3,000 farms in EU member states finding that Salmonella Enteritidis is five times more likely to be found in cage systems compared to free-range systems. The decreased risk of disease in cage-free environments is likely due to a combination of cage-free systems being cleaner; having fewer rodent and insect disease vectors; being easier to clean and disinfect; and hens on bedding acquiring more natural, healthy gut flora, being less stressed and therefore less susceptible to disease.
Numerous studies have found free-range eggs or cage-free eggs to have a healthier overall nutritional profile. Benefits found include less saturated fat and cholesterol, and higher levels of protein. Free-range or cage-free eggs have also been found to have significantly more Vitamin A and Vitamin E; more omega 3s; higher levels of alpha tocopherol and alpha-linolenic acid; higher carotenoid levels; more lutein; a healthier ratio of omega 6 to omega 3 fatty acids; higher bone mineral density; and more beta carotene.
Nearly all major retailers, restaurant chains, food service companies and packaged food companies in North America, South America and Europe have announced they will make 100 percent of the eggs in their supply chain free-range or cage-free. Some have already completed the transition to free-range or cage-free, others have announced plans to be cage-free by 2020, 2022 or 2025.
Currently, cage-free egg production makes up just 10 percent of Chinese egg production. Therefore, caged egg producers in China need to switch to cage-free methods to keep pace with the increased demand for cage-free eggs.
At Sauder, our traditional eggs are United Egg Producers certified. Our farms with battery cages provide chickens with continual fresh air, plus room to move around, socialize with other chickens, and take dust baths. Earning this certification means our farms have a zero-tolerance policy toward willful neglect and abuse. Hens living in battery cages on our farms have the best possible, most humane conditions in their space.
Sauder free-range eggs are Certified Humane Free-Range. This certification comes from the Humane Farm Animal Care Program, a group that works to promote and protect livestock health and safety. Certified Humane standards dictate the space, litter, air, light, perches, enrichments, and more that hens receive in their housing.
To achieve this certification, hens must have two square feet of outdoor space per chicken and at least six hours of outside access, allowing them to get plenty of sunlight and fresh air. Non-certified free-range birds have no minimum outdoor time requirements and might see much less outdoor time than consumers believe.
Sauder organic eggs take this one step further. Our organic eggs are Pennsylvania Certified Organic and Ohio Certified Organic. Our organic eggs meet higher standards than USDA-only organic eggs, giving our customers even better reassurance of hen treatment at our farms. Our birds have year-round access to direct sunlight, exercise areas, outdoors, shade, shelter, and more. They receive excellent care and only eat high-quality, organic feed.
While battery cages help reduce hen aggression and allow for easier egg harvesting, they still keep the birds in more restrictive conditions than cage-free birds. When you buy cage-free, free-range, pasture-raised, and organic eggs, you can feel confident that the chickens enjoyed having more space. While the convenience of battery cages is undeniable, many consumers want eggs from hens who had the freedom to do their natural, instinctive activities.
Cage-free, Certified Humane eggs come from hens who live in open facilities with 1.5 minimum square feet per bird. These standards limit the number of birds in a facility to ensure they all have enough space to roam, lay, and play. Hens must have enrichment opportunities like dust baths and perches, and their air and litter must meet specific cleanliness standards. Emphasizing cage-free, Certified Humane eggs is essential to promoting animal health and care as we rely on chickens for egg production.
Finally, cage-free eggs are more expensive overall because more work goes into providing the hens with extra space, specially formulated feed, and additional enrichment. Providing a high quality of life for hens costs more money, so their eggs will be more expensive. When they buy cage-free eggs, consumers trade more money for healthier, happier, and more humane living conditions for chickens.
The science around egg-rearing health is a bit murky. Some studies have shown that free-range eggs have a higher fat content, while pasture-raised eggs are richer in fatty acids and vitamin E. However, for the most part, it seems the nutritional differences between caged and cage-free eggs are minimal. The most significant difference in these eggs is the quality of life the hens receive. Cage-free and pasture-raised hens often lead less restrictive lives, with room to perch, dust bathe, and lay their eggs.
You might also choose pasture-raised eggs because you worry about the space and sunlight the hens laying your eggs receive. Small, local farmers who can devote more time and care to their flock often run pastured farms. At Sauder, our hens have high-quality, humane treatment regardless of bird-housing conditions. We emphasize our relationships with family farms that provide their birds with the best care.
Sauder Eggs carries several cage-free types of eggs. We work within government regulations and third-party standards to ensure the hens that lay our eggs receive humane care during their lives. Our cage-free, free-range, and organic eggs all meet government or Certified Humane standards of bird treatment. We work closely with family-owned farms to ensure hens receive the best care during their lifetimes.
Sauder works closely with our farmers to deliver every egg fresh to your grocery stores. We guarantee the highest care standards for our birds, and all of our farms exceed USDA regulations for their hens. We believe in humane, quality hen treatment and work to provide enriching, comfortable lives for every hen who lays our eggs. You can purchase Sauder Eggs knowing our hens lived happy lives and had all their needs met at our family-owned facilities. 041b061a72