The Daily Democrat reports: "Animal welfare and poultry science experts from UC Davis, Michigan State University and other universities across the country are teaming up to study what are the most humane and commercially viable methods for housing egg-laying chickens. Leading the team of researchers in tackling this controversial issue are internationally recognized animal welfare scientist Joy Mench of UCD, and animal welfare researcher Janice Swanson and philosophy professor Paul Thompson, both of Michigan State University.
The research team has recently received $400,000 from the American Egg Board, an egg-marketing organization, to fund the planning stage of the research program. The issue of whether it is better for egg-laying hens to be housed in cages or to roam freely in large barns is particularly contentious in California, where an effort is under way to place an initiative on the November 2008 ballot that would ban the use of cages in raising laying hens."It will be interesting to see the results of this well-funded study. With an industry trade group sponsoring this measure, it won't be a surprise if the study will reinforce the status quo: cage egg production.