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Student Action: Friends for Hens

Help stop cage confinement of egg-laying hens

Put the chicken before the egg! Get the word out about cruel cages for hens and see if you can help your community go cage-free.

Most eggs produced in the U.S. don’t come from Old MacDonald’s Farm. Instead, they come from industrialized factory farms confining millions of laying hens in overcrowded battery cages. Stacked one on top of another, each small wire cage may hold as many as 10 hens.

Each hen has less space than the size of a sheet of paper. Hens confined in battery cages can’t spread their wings, make nests, perch, dustbathe, or do other things they were born to do.

You can help! Write letters and talk to your parents, friends, restaurant managers, and school cafeteria manager. Ask them to make the switch to cage-free eggs.

1. Know your stuff. Read the facts about battery cages and watch the video below to learn more about the problems with eggs from caged hens.  


2. Family first. Take a look at the egg carton in your fridge. Does it say “cage-free,” “free-range,” “certified organic," or “free-roaming” on the label? If not, the eggs probably came from chickens confined in battery cages. Ask your parents that if they keep buying eggs, why not choose only eggs that come from cage-free chickens? You can have a talk with your parents about it or even write them a letter. Think about making these points:

  • Describe what life is like for hens kept in cages.
  • Explain why you would like your family to not buy eggs from caged hens.
  • Ask your parents to look for the “cage-free” labels. They can find out more at EggLabels.com.
  • Thank your parents for teaching you to be compassionate toward animals.

3. Dining out? Ask restaurants to make the switch to cage-free eggs. Speak with the manager and explain the problems with eggs from battery-caged hens. Tell them that many restaurants and companies are converting some or all of their egg purchases to cage-free.

4. Cage-free cafeteria. Scrambled eggs might not be on your lunch menu, but school cafeterias use a lot of eggs in cooking. Set up a meeting with your school’s principal or cafeteria manager to ask about the eggs used at school. Explain why you would like the school to switch to cage-free eggs. If you’re not in an animal club at school, see if any friends or classmates want to help. Ask them to go to the meeting with you. 

5. Pass it on. Whatever your family, school, or restaurant does, you can still help hens by teaching others. Write letters to your local newspapers about life for hens in cages. Ask readers to choose cage-free if they buy eggs.

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