Last week, I spent a day in Arkansas on a farm surrounded by 53,000 happy egg-laying hens. Every single hen on this farm has free range, meaning they can go outside, forage, perch, dust bathe in the sun, spread their wings, turn around, and have a private place to lay their eggs.
This is a big deal. It’s a big deal because over 90% of the eggs sold in the U.S. come from caged hens on factory farms. They have zero access to most basic natural behavioral needs. For their entire lives, they are confined to battery cages so small that they can’t even walk or spread their wings, and they never go outside. Each hen has less than an iPad of space to live on for her entire life.
The farm we visited is a third generation family farm that was going out of business after its contract with a large chicken producer expired. Luckily, because of the growing demand for more humane egg production, an Arkansas egg company approached them about forming a partnership to run a free-range egg farm. Previously, this egg company exclusively ran battery cage operations but because of ethical concerns and the momentum on free-range egg procurement, they shifted their focus. The partnership was formed, the farm was saved, and now they sell their free-range eggs under the Happy Egg Co. brand. Not only do they have pride in their operations, but they see a prosperous future for their family business. Visitors and pictures are welcome.
Since 2008, Compass Group has been committed to serving 100% cage-free shell eggs in accounts. I’m grateful for the time I spent on the farm and am more convinced than ever that the food industry must continue to work at improving the lives of people and animals.
– Veronica Ospina, Senior Manager Corporate Communication