How ‘free’ are free range hens?

Welcome back to miSTEAKen!

On Monday, we discussed the truth behind pig farming in Australia and made comparisons to how the Australian pork industry advertised the farm conditions.  No business in their right mind would willingly choose to show the poor conditions their animals are kept in and here at miSTEAKen we are eternally appreciative of organisations like Animals Australia and Peta for uncovering the truth.  Today we want to discuss chickens, specifically hens.

Chickens like pigs, are incredibly intelligent animals and are able to solve problems beyond the ability of a young child. ¬†They are sociable creatures¬†and given the ‘free range’ label, we often assume they have lived a happy and carefree life. ¬†This is beyond the case.

While free range eggs are more ‘ethical’ than cage eggs, how much do we really know about what ‘free range’ means? ¬†Let’s first start by discussing cage eggs.

Hens that lay cage eggs are subjected to a horrific amount of abuse.  From birth, they will have their beaks sliced off by hot iron Рthat is equivalent to us having our fingers cut off without anaesthetics.  Just imagine the pain!  These hens are later kept in cages that are so small they do not have the room to spread their wings and will never get to go outdoors and see sunlight.  Because of this, 1 in 6 hens will live with untreated broken bones due to the lack of calcium.

On a lighter note, free range eggs means that hens must have access to an outdoor area for at least 8 hours a day. ¬†These hens are also provided sheltered areas from wind and rain and there should be approximately 1500 hens per hectare. ¬†Doesn’t sound too bad right? ¬†An investigation (link below) conducted by found that over 200 million free range eggs sold last year, did in fact not meet these standards. ¬†Instead of 1500 hens per hectare, many brands including Woolworths and Coles kept over 10 000 hens per hectare. ¬†That is almost 10 times the amount! With free range eggs being almost double the price of cage eggs, aren’t these brands essentially ripping consumers off?


Although we do not endorse it, in the future if you do plan on purchasing eggs check out the handy chart below! ¬†We highly recommend purchasing certified organic ends because as you can see, these chickens are subjected to not as much cruelty as the others. ¬†Let’s #maketheconnection and try minimise cruelty as much as we can!!



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