As of June 2021, 30% of egg-laying chickens in the United States are cage-free. A decade ago, that number was just 5%. “It may be the greatest reduction of animal suffering in U.S. history,” says Josh Balk, HSUS vice president of Farm Animal Protection. “That percentage represents about 100 million animals who otherwise would be in a cage and instead now have a much better life,” says Balk.

Illustration of a white hen, 30% of egg-laying chickens in the US are now cage-free.

While cage-free isn’t cruelty-free, chickens raised outside cages can engage in critical natural behaviors such as dustbathing, perching and laying eggs in nest boxes. HSUS-supported corporate policies, state bans and consumer demand made the change possible: More than 200 food companies now have cage-free policies and nine states have banned cages for egg-laying hens. The most recent of these is Nevada, which passed its ban in early June.

From our magazine

This story originally appeared in our award-winning magazine for members, All Animals. Get informative and inspiring content like this delivered right to your door.

Learn MoreSubscribe
Cover of All Animals Magazine with a photo of India the tiger lying in the grass.