Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Science Behind Hen Welfare

Agricultural industries keep claiming that animal rights groups do not base their ideas on "science". Groups like HSUS, it is said, prefer cage-free egg production due to emotion, but the "science" says cage production is best.

Not so fast, says Ham and Eggonomics. The table below comes from a "scientific" study that ranks cage production last in terms of animal welfare, and cage-free better than cage production. We raise eggs in cages because it is cheaper, not because science shows cages to be better for the hen. Let's argue. Debate is good, but let's be honest.

Source: De Mol, R.M., W.G.P. Schouten, E. Evers, H. Drost, H.W.J. Houwers and A.C. Smits. 2006. “A Computer Model for Welfare Assessment of Poultry Production Systems for Laying Hens.” Netherlands Journal of Agricultural Science. 54:157-168.