What Does “Cage-Free” Really Mean?

What Does “Cage-Free” Really Mean?

Did you know that September is actually National Chicken Month? Chickens are highly intelligent, sentient beings and keeping them in these conditions is extremely cruel and inhumane. You might think that purchasing “free-range” or “cage-free” is the best choice you can make, but when you look at these images, does that really seem like the case?

                                       

“Cage-Free” or “Free-Range”…these terms apply typically to eggs and egg products. “Cage free” basically means the birds have never been confined in a cage. Although eggs labelled this way come from hens not confined to a cage, the housing density at many of these farms may be so high that some of the problems associated with caging are still experienced.

But what are the consequences of consumers equating welfare “improvements” with making a positive impact in the lives of animals? One is clearly defined in a study that was completed after the passage of Proposition 2 in California, which found that consumers did not decrease their egg consumption after hearing of the horrors of egg production. Instead, they simply switched to cage-free eggs. Another disturbing example is a study that found veal consumption actually increased in Europe following the passage of a veal crate ban.

Now that you know the truth about what these labels mean, it is your duty to share truth. As consumers, it is our job to hold meat producers accountable for the claims they make and the best way to do that is by choosing not to support them. Friends of Animals recognizes the destructive impact of promoting labeling schemes that steer consumers away from “Factory Farmed” products and toward “humanely raised” animal products. Our stance has always been that animal farming as a whole is the problem, regardless of the size of the farm, or how animals are bred and raised for slaughter! 

Thankfully, there are many chicken and egg substitutes are not only delicious, but free of all cruelty to animals. When you have an option that is truly better … why bother with anything else? Check out a couple of our favorite recipes below and learn more about these mixed messages the meat and dairy industry has produced in our article from Action Line magazine. 

 

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