Thursday, May 6, 2010
Cage-Free Organic vs. Pasture-Raised Organic Eggs
From today's Organic Consumers Association e-newsletter -
note: videos are not graphic.
The USDA's National Organic Program has animal welfare standards that require egg-laying hens to have access to the outdoors and be able to exhibit their natural behaviors. Unfortunately, because the law isn't being evenly enforced, there are a wide range of conditions for egg-laying hens among certified organic operations.
Some certified organic eggs come from farms that provide plenty of rich green pasture for the hens to forage in for greens, insects and worms.
But the biggest industrial egg producers, who dominate grocery store sales of organic eggs, keep their hens in giant sheds, feeding them a simple corn-soy ration spiked with a synthetic supplement called methionine that keeps the hens appearing healthy even though they aren't getting the sunlight and forage they need.