If the news shocks you that the dozen organic eggs you just bought came from hens living in factory-like conditions, you are not alone.
Nationwide, most consumers of organic eggs, dairy, and meat believe they are paying for more humanely raised products. In one survey conducted by the Association for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) in 2014, 68 percent of consumers believed that animals raised on organic farms have “access to outdoor pasture and fresh air,” and 67 percent believed that they have “significantly more space to move than on non-organic farms.”
The truth of animal welfare in organic agriculture is not so clear-cut. And no food highlights the problem more than eggs.
Pete & Gerry’s is a large-scale organic egg retailer in Monroe, N.H., where the hens are free-range. Most days—when temperatures are not extreme and there are no predators or disease-carrying migratory birds about—the flock moves at will in and out of the barns, dust-bathing and foraging in organic pasture.| | | Next → | Single Page