Traditionally animals such as hens were raised for eating in battery cages.  Battery cages are really small and animals inside are usually jammed in to the point that they can’t move.  The average battery cage for a hen is 67 square inches, which is smaller than the average printer paper.  Battery cages prevent animals from doing their normal functions and it prevents them from socializing with other animals, this can cause physical, mental and emotional trauma for the caged animals.

 

In recent years “caged-free” meat and eggs has been popping up. Most people think caged-free and imagine animals running in a valley.  That is far from what caged-free means.  Although caged-free is significantly better than battery-caged, it still isn’t healthy for animals.  Caged-free animals are able to do more natural functions, for example, hens are able to spread their wings, nest and walk.  However, the problem is that caged-free animals still never get the chance to go outside and they are surrounded by thousands of other like animals. Caged-free should never be taken as a cruel-free or healthy option, because caged-free living situations definitely are not good for the animals’ well-being.

 

In addition, both battery-caged and caged-free facilities do their fair share of mutual cruelty. Both battery-caged and caged-free facilities prematurely slaughter animals around the age of 2, which is much shorter than a natural lifespan. Both battery-caged and caged-free facilities will transport the animals for long periods of time without food or water.  Both battery-caged and caged-free mutilate and burn birds’ peaks.  Not to mention, both battery-caged and caged-free facilities get their hens from places that kill the males as soon as they hatch (which adds up to more than 200 million a year in the United States).  It is rare nowadays, because the practice is slowly starting to be abandoned, but some battery-caged and caged-free facilities still starve the animals in order to molt them.

 

“Caged-free” is just one of the many terms that are thrown at consumers.  These terms are good marketing tools because most people don’t know what they actually mean. Before you buy a meat or dairy product thinking that it’s healthy or the humane option, please get to know the facts.

 

References:

 

“Cage-Free vs. Battery-Cage Eggs.” Humane Society. Web. 14 Dec. 2015.