Good prenatal health is important to women in order to delivery healthy babies. What are the chances of these hens laying healthy eggs? On factory farms, hens live in cages that are the size of a folded newspaper with 4-5 hens in a cage. In these cramp quarters, there is no room to move around. Manure infested and cramped cages lead to illness and malnutrition among hens. Illness is combated with antibiotics. 90% off all antibiotics in the U.S. are given to livestock. Over use of antibiotics can lead to bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics. Many hens die during their factory farm life span of about two years. Hens that lay eggs that hatch male baby chick are considered of no value and they are dumped, both dead and alive, shortly after hatching.
What does your egg carton label say?
Free Range– Free range chickens are not kept in cages and have some outside accessibility. The USDA does not have set guidelines or requirements as to how much time they are allowed outside, the quality of their outdoor space, or what the chickens are fed. Beak cutting is allowed, and so is forced molting by means of starvation. There is no third party auditing on free range chickens to verify their quality of living. Apparently free range applies to the chicken farmer…free range to do what you want and no third party audit to maintain integrity.
Cage Free– Hens live inside a barn or a warehouse cage free. Beak cutting is permitted and there is no third party audit.
Free Roaming– Also known as free range.
Vegetarian Fed– This label implies that chickens were fed a diet that does not contain animal byproducts. It gives no insight on the living or health conditions of the chickens.
Animal Welfare Approved– This label states that chickens are raised humanely. Chickens are raised appropriately with the ability to go inside and outside cage free at all times. No beak cutting is allowed. No forced molting by means of starvation is allowed. Third party auditing is required to maintain integrity.
Certified Organic– Chickens are allowed to be cage free and fed an organic diet, but force molting and beak cutting are allowed. Third party auditing is required to maintain integrity.
- What you can do to make a difference:
Purchase eggs from an animal friendly egg farm.
Contact your local grocery and request eggs that come from humane egg farms and are animal welfare approved.
Learn more about which egg farms produce quality eggs under humane conditions by visiting the Cornucopia Institute .
The Cornucopia egg score card provides a quick review on which eggs are best. Hint, Eggland’s Best is not the best.
Consider going vegan and not using eggs in your diet at all.