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JUNEAU, Alaska - Community-based independent Rainbow Foods yesterday adopted an exclusively cage-free egg policy in an effort to improve animal welfare.
"Our cage-free egg policy is an important part of our commitment to raising the bar on animal welfare issues," stated David Ottoson, owner of Rainbow Foods.
According to the Humane Society, U.S. factory farms confine nearly 300 million hens in battery cages that are too small for the birds to spread their wings. Each bird has less space than a single sheet of paper on which to live. The European Union has banned barren battery cages, effective 2012.
The animal welfare group also said that cage-free hens generally have better lives than birds confined in battery cages, and that caging is a significant cause of laying hen suffering. Cage-free hens generally have approximately 250-300 percent more space per bird and are able to engage in more of their natural behaviors than are caged hens.
"By refusing to sell eggs from caged birds, the company is helping to improve animal welfare and encourage the egg industry to end its confinement of laying hens in battery cages," said Paul Shapiro, factory farming campaign director for The HSUS.