Is There a “Cage-Free” Lunch in U.S. Egg Production? Public Views of Laying-Hen Housing Attributes
By: Ochs, Daniel; Wolf, Christopher A.; Widmar, Nicole J.; Bir, Courtney
Ochs, Daniel; Wolf, Christopher A.; Widmar, Nicole J.; Bir, Courtney, Is There a “Cage-Free” Lunch in U.S. Egg Production? Public Views of Laying-Hen Housing Attributes, Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Volume 44, Issue 2, May 2019, Pages 345-361
Animal welfare–related production attributes are increasingly considered by U.S. consumers making food purchasing decisions and U.S. voters at the ballot box. This research considers U.S. consumer preferences for egg production attributes. The results reveal preferences for less hen stress, more natural hen behavior, and improved worker health and welfare. We propose an index combining animal welfare scores and consumer preference shares for determining preferred combinations of egg production attributes. When weighting hen housing systems by consumer preference for animal and worker welfare attributes, the preferred system is enriched colony housing, which differs from recent retailer commitments to cage-free aviaries.