Chickens in battery cages; PHOTO: Farm Sanctuary


A compromise between the Humane Society of the United States and Ohio egg farmers has led to a ban that prohibits the building of new factory farms that keep hens in cages. Instead, new farms will need to house chickens in buildings without cages. These facilities usually have two to three times more room per bird than cages, which hold eight to ten chickens in a space the size of a filing cabinet drawer. Factory egg farms produce millions of eggs a day.

Ohio is not alone in recognizing the need for better living conditions for chickens. According to The New York Times, by 2015, caging hens will be illegal in California. Later this year, California will also prohibit the sale of eggs that come from farms that use caging methods. The Humane Society reports that 95 percent of egg-producing chickens are now crammed into small cages.

The United Egg Producers report that if all eggs came from un-caged hens, the price of eggs would go up 25 percent. Animal supporters argue that the issue should not be a matter of price but of the animals’ overall well-being. President of the Vegetarian Society of Georgia, Jill Howard-Church, points out that “if reforming farming practices gets U.S. hens out of cages […] the sky will not fall, American families won’t go bankrupt, and billions of birds will have at least some relief.”

Similar laws are being considered in other states and for other farm animals such as cows raised for veal and female pigs.

Maya Davis, age 13, is a student in Queens, New York.

Chickens in battery cages
Photo: איתמר ק., ITamar K.

See also: “Bad eggs”