The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) issued a recent press release saying that Einstein Noah Restaurant Group will phase in the use of cage-free eggs. There is no indication on the company website of this decision. Although HSUS press releases have highlighted decisions by Burger King and other chains to purchase small quantities of eggs from non-confined flocks, the effect on U.S. production is minimal.
A recent press release from the United Egg Producers (UEP) quotes a survey denoting a 40 to one preference for conventional over “cage-free” eggs. This figure corresponds to the present proportions of caged and non-confined flocks as obtained from industry sources.
It is believed that approximately 92% of all U.S. eggs and almost all shell eggs are produced with conformity to the UEP Welfare Guidelines which are based on scientific principles and evaluation by independent experts.
McDonald's Corp. has rejected the HSUS request to purchase cage-free eggs. This company, in conjunction with other quick-service restaurants, is awaiting the results of a scientific trial to evaluate the welfare and productivity of hens in conventional cages, enriched and colony cages and floor systems.