19 July 2011

From Today's New York Times

To the Editor:

Re “Egg Producers and Humane Society Urging Federal Standard on Hen Cages” (Business Day, July 8):

I’m a vegetarian who turned vegan after coming to terms with the fact that just because I was eating hormone-free, antibiotic-free, even free-range organic eggs didn’t mean that egg-producing hens were living a cruelty-free life.

When I read your article, I was elated. Egg-laying hens may eventually get what is long overdue: enlarged cage space (144 square inches for each bird compared with the current 67 )—even perches, and scratching and nesting areas that allow the birds to express natural behavior. The use of wire cages isn’t being addressed, but should be in the future.

We are headed in the right direction, but need to fight to push the changes through. It could take up to 18 years for them to be phased in, if the law should pass. A factory-farmed egg-producing hen’s lifespan is less than two years.

New York, July 13, 2011