Choose cage free meat and food is beneficial for us and food sustainability in terms of Food Quality, Animal Warfare, and our health benefit.
What is cage free food?
The need for quality, healthy and organic food production has increased in recent years as more people have become interested in the quality of products they consume. The advent of organizations like People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has dramatically exposed the cruel treatment of animals during poultry and livestock farming. This has led to the increased demand for products that are cage free, organic, and devoid of chemicals and hormones.
In recent research conducted by the ESI Insight for World Animal Protection, it was observed that 67% of consumers consider animal warfare before making food purchases. What exactly does cage free mean, and how does it affects the quality of products?
Cage free meat or products are derived from animals predominantly poultry birds living in open structures like houses or barns with perches or nest for laying of their eggs and can freely move around, interact with other animals, rest and eat and drink as they want. Compared to animals confined to cages, a cage free animal’s product comes with a host of benefits.
The difference among Cage Free, Free-Range and organic
Cage free, a term regulated by the USDA, means that the eggs come from hens that, put simply, aren’t caged: They can “freely roam a building, room, or enclosed area with unlimited access to food and fresh water during their production cycle, but [do] not have access to the outdoors.”
Free-range, another USDA term, means that the eggs come from hens that have some sort of access to the outdoors.
Organic, the only stipulation is that they must come from hens who are fed an organic diet. Amount of space per hen, access to the outdoors — neither of those are specified or required, though many organic eggs are also at least free-range.
Below is a list of reasons why you should choose cage free meat and food products today.
Egg Quality and Health
Studies have shown that cage free eggs are healthier and more nutritious. They contain less saturated fat and cholesterol but have a higher level of protein. They have also been observed to contain a significantly higher level of vitamin A and vitamin E.
As cage free systems are typically easier to clean and disinfect, they are cleaner, have fewer rodent and insect disease factor and the animals are less susceptible to diseases as there is no overcrowding.
According to data analyzed by the European Food Safety Authority from over 3000 farms in the EU, it found that Salmonella Enteritidis is five times more likely to be found in cage systems compared to the free-range method. As animals are the primary host of this disease, humans can get it when they take contaminated food products from such animals.
Eggs from cage free farms also have a lower level of chemical residue from insecticides, lower levels of insect infection, and a lower concentration of dioxin-like contaminants.
Cage free systems provide a varied environment for animals to express behaviors that are important to them. For animals such as birds (a hen), such behavioral needs include locomotion and exploration, sleeping, dust bathing, and many maintenance behaviors such as wing flapping, stretching, and so on. These affect the overall health of the animal and in turn affect the quality of meat and other products derived from them.
The switch from caged meat to cage free meat and other food products should have occurred years ago, but it is happening now because of the increased demand from consumers and companies for these products. Companies such as Starbuck, Nestle and Unilever are already making that switch and we are happy to see such changes occurring in our society because not only are we eating healthy and treating our animals better, we are also getting more compassionate and leaving a better planet for our kids.
Join us today and make that switch to cage free meat and animal products.