Friday, December 28, 2007

New report questions the happiness of free-range birds

As World Poultry reported yesterday, the University of Sydney released the results of a new study about the welfare of egg-laying chickens in free range systems:

"Researchers have discovered that free range hens experience just as much or more stress than hens raised in modern, conventional cages. This is contrary to allegations of animal rights activists saying that hens in modern cages live a horribly stressed life. Dr. Jeff Downing at the University of Sydney, conducted a recent study measuring corticosterone, a hormone produced in response to stress or fear, in eggs from free range and modern caged hens. In both types of eggs, levels of the hormone were similar."

The report is illuminating. But, is it entirely accurate? It's important to examine a full range of statements by poultry scientists and experts to arrive an educated conclusion. Read up on now!