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The Cage-Free Conundrum: Hype Outpaces Demand

by 5m Editor
1 November 2007, at 9:48am

CANADA - Cage-free eggs are the latest must-have product for animal-welfare activists and politically correct corporations.

You know the old riddle: Which came first, the chicken or the egg?

Well, in the case of cage-free eggs - the latest must-have product for animal-welfare activists and politically correct corporations - the hype seems to have come before the chicken and the egg.

Sparked by concern over the living conditions of commercial egg-laying hens, the B.C. cities of Richmond, Vancouver and Whistler recently vowed that their municipal cafeterias would only serve eggs laid by chickens raised in large open barns instead of stacks of small wire cages.

Those commitments, made earlier this year, were followed by similar moves by employers such as Google and postsecondary institutions such as the University of Guelph in Ontario, the University of British Columbia and Langara College in Vancouver. In the United States, Burger King and ice-cream giant Ben & Jerry's are phasing regular eggs out of their products.

But the recent spate of corporate promises hasn't had the trickle-down effect that animal rights activists have hoped for. Consumers still aren't rushing to buy cage-free eggs - and until that happens, egg producers say there's no reason to tear out their cages.

Source: GlobeAndMail

5m Editor