Free Birds

Stephanie Lingafelter
February/March 2006
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About 95 percent of the 300 million laying hens in the United States are confined to cages. Many of the birds don't even live with enough space to spread their wings, and are deprived of fresh air and exercise. More U.S. businesses are joining the Humane Society of the United States' campaign to discontinue the purchase of eggs from caged chickens, including: Whole Foods Market, Trader Joe's, Bon Appetit Management Co., Earth Fare, Jimbo's?Naturally and Wild Oats Natural Marketplace. Several universities, including George Washington University, the University of Arizona and the University of Connecticut, also have stopped purchasing eggs laid by chickens confined in cages.

You can support this campaign for more humane treatment of poultry by choosing 'free-range' or 'cage-free' eggs at your grocery store. Even better are eggs from hens raised on pasture. These true free-range eggs often have the added bonus of being higher in nutrients and lower in cholesterol than eggs from caged birds.

For information about the health benefits of eggs from pastured poultry, visit The Chicken and Egg Page.

You'll also find lots of great advice about raising your own chicks at the Web site of poultry expert, Robert Plamondon.

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