This is Who Laid your Free Range Eggs

The free range farming label is one of the biggest marketing scams of our time, goading ethically minded consumers into buying cruelty based products by selling them an ideology which in no way represents reality.

Many consumers are opposed to the idea of factory farming as it is clear to see how cruel and inhumane it is for the animals trapped inside the industry. Upon discovering the truth of factory farming, a large number of people switch to buying free range eggs, as they are under the impression that these birds live happy healthy lives with the freedom to roam in lush green fields, flapping about in the sunshine and pecking in the dirt. Sadly, this vision of a free range hen is often just an illusion.

Free Range Lies

Consumers are led to believe that free range hens spend all day outside with the freedom to enjoy a relatively normal and happy life, but statistics show that the vast majority of free range hens live in overcrowded cramped conditions and never get the opportunity to feel the sun on their backs, or grass under their feet.

The legal requirements for free range hens in the United States only stipulates that hens are given access to the outside, but the amount of space and time spent outside is left up to the farmer to decide. Many farms are designed with tiny doors to the outside, and due to the hens’ territorial nature, these entrances are often guarded by certain individuals, not allowing access to others. A huge majority of hens are so far away from these doors that they do not even know they exist, and the farmers do not even legally have to open them unless they want to.

Many farmers do not allow access to the outside until 5 months of age, by which time they have become so accustomed to living inside that they are afraid to venture into an unknown area. In practice this means that the majority of free range hens never actually go outside and instead live their entire lives in huge, cramped, squalid conditions which lead to feather loss, illness, disease, injury and depression. Hardly the picture printed onto the side of the egg carton, is it?

Free Range and Factory Farming Practices are Almost Identical

As well as considering the lies told about the living conditions of free range hens, it’s important to look at the standard industry practices as well, as these are enough to make ethically minded consumers think twice about what they are supporting when buying eggs, free range or not.

All eggs come from hatcheries where male chicks are considered to be a byproduct of the process and are crushed alive at just one day old. Females have the tip of their beaks burnt off to prevent pecking injuries to each other and are then crammed into huge crates and sent off to their destination farms, with millions dying in transit due to starvation, dehydration and injury.

Despite not being housed in individual cages like factory farmed hens, free range egg layers are kept in extremely cramped conditions with as many as 20,000 hens being raised in a single barn, each having a space the size of an iPad.

There is nothing humane about conditions these hens have to endure during their lives, and it is time we started lifting the lid on the myth of free range farming. It is factory farming with a pretty label on the packaging, certainly not a welfare standard consumers should be feeling happy about.

Photo Credit: Animal Liberation Victoria

532 comments

Georgia a.
Georgia a.5 months ago

And I think back on the great chicken yard my grandparents had. A great place for the hens to lay eggs, plenty of open space and fresh air as well as oodles of green grass for them to hunt insects or whatever tasty thing they came across and plenty of water as well as huge containers of water for the ducks to paddle around in. This enclosure and all water containers were kept scrupulously clean. The only bad thing about it were those darned turkeys who would chase me every time I set foot inside. I still dislike and fear those birds......except at Thanksgiving!

Pablo B.
Pablo B.11 months ago

horrible

Renee R.
Renee R.11 months ago

What tha hell has happened to cruelty to animals every abuser should be held responsible for their actions a rottwieler about 2 inches wide came to my house n i called the Columbia Louisiana parish sheriff dept they said it was not cruelity hows that for law enforcement. That was in may 2015 as of Oct 2015 tha dog remains with me. Yet that dog is not mine tha abuser can come n get her man what a world we live in ppl wake up N make their voice heard if u care at all change tha law

Renee R.
Renee R.11 months ago

What tha hell has happened to cruelty to animals every abuser should be held responsible for their actions a rottwieler about 2 inches wide came to my house n i called the Columbia Louisiana parish sheriff dept they said it was not cruelity hows that for law enforcement. That was in may 2015 as of Oct 2015 tha dog remains with me. Yet that dog is not mine tha abuser can come n get her man what a world we live in ppl wake up N make their voice heard if u care at all change tha law

Clare O'Beara
Clare O'Beara11 months ago

Surely this would come under the Trade Descriptions Act as well as animal welfare laws.
For years I only bought eggs about once a year, because I would not buy battery eggs and could not afford guaranteed free range ones often. Now I do buy eggs, usually free range, as even battery standards have improved in Ireland thanks to EU law, and many more are free range, which is comparatively cheaper than it used to be.
I think organic eggs would be a higher standard, am I right?

Clare S.
Clare S.11 months ago

There is no governmental regulation or legal definition of “free-range” when it comes to eggs. Even the small percentage of chickens that may actually have access to outdoors (although this isn't regulated) are still living in horrific conditions. If you really want to take a stand against this kind of treatment stop eating eggs. That's it, period.

Teresa W.
Teresa W.11 months ago

shocking

billie Cousans
B Cousans11 months ago

Can the author of this article please give us more information about which companies they are reporting on.
Thank you.

Jan W.
Jan W.11 months ago

This is appalling... please give us information about which companies are actually ethical and allow their hens to roam outside. This is just heartbreaking to think about even chickens living this way... is there a petition I can sign to sign, to try changing this situation??

Denise D.
Denise D.11 months ago

So sad. And very irritating! My husband and child are not as willing as I am to go vegetarian, and I honestly thought I was doing a good thing by buying "organic, cage free eggs". I guess im back to buying nonorganic eggs from coworkers