Animal cruelty sadly still exists and we can all make a difference in the suffering of domesticated animals by changing our shopping habits. The World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) has launched an education campaign to get people aware of the dangers of factory-farming hens while celebrating the benefits of letting the animals roam free.
Cage-free is healthier for the chickens:
There is overwhelming scientific evidence to demonstrate that caged hens have a greater chance of being infected by Salmonella; which is among the most common causes of food-related hospitalization and deaths in the US and Canada.ii,iii,iv
A study by the European Food Safety Authority, which analyzed data from 5,000 egg farms in more than 20 countries, found up to 25-times greater odds of Salmonella infection in farms where hens were kept in battery cages than in farms using any non-cage system. i, ii, iii, iv, v, vi
Keeping hens in small, barren, crowded cages causes them considerable stress, which can make the hens more susceptible to diseases and more infectious.
Diseases can spread more rapidly in larger, denser flocks. The average size of a caged flock in the U.S. is 75,000 to 100,000 hens while the average size of a cage-free flock is 25,000 hens. A USDA study found that farms with more than 100,000 birds were four times more likely to have birds test positive for Salmonella than those with fewer than 100,000 birds.
This is certainly good news for people who eat: organic and sustainable food production is just as good – or even better – than the standard factory farming setup.
After an initial decline in yields during the first few years of transition, Rodale Institute claims the organic system soon rebounded to match or surpass the conventional system. Over time, FST became a comparison between the long term potential of the two systems.
*Organic yields match conventional yields.
*Organic outperforms conventional in years of drought. Organic fields increased groundwater recharge and reduced run-off.
There are still a lot of people who think that congenital factory farming is the most efficient way to produce crops, well those people get proven wrong – a lot! The good news is that organic farming is good for the crops, the planet, and the farmer’s profitability.
Check it out:
So, in yield terms, both of the organic rotations featuring corn beat the Adair County average and came close to the conventional patch. Two of the three organic rotations featuring soybeans beat both the county average and the conventional patch; and both of the organic rotations featuring oats trounced the county average. In short, Borlaug’s claim of huge yield advantages for the chemical-intensive agriculture he championed just don’t pan out in the field.
And in terms of economic returns to farmers—market price for crops minus costs—the contest isn’t even close. Organic crops draw a higher price in the market and don’t require expenditures for pricy inputs like synthetic fertilizer and pesticides.
Jason Schwartzman cares about what you eat. Well, at the very least he has narrated a new short film on the importance of what we eat. The film looks like it covers a lot issues around problematic factory farming and the benefits of traditional farming methods.
Here’s a promo for the film:
And Gene Baur from Farm Sanctuary says:
“The way we eat has profound consequences for our own health, but also for the environment and for animals and every day each of us makes choices about what we support and the way we spend our dollars is very important. Unfortunately, most people have been spending their dollars in a way that’s been supporting an unhealthy, an inhumane and unsustainable system. By becoming more aware and making choices that are more aligned with our values and our interests we are going to see a shift.”