The Welfare and Ethical Assessment of Housing for Egg Production

CM Sherwin

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter in a book


Modern-day egg production is an ethical irony. Eggs have the potential to be one of the most ethically acceptable forms of food production in which humans could be involved, but instead, it is arguably the most human-biased of all food-animal industries. It is easy to imagine a scenario in which small groups of hens co-exist with humans in a symbiotic relationship that is almost devoid of negative ethical concerns. Hens will spontaneously produce eggs on a regular basis with little human intervention. These eggs could be gathered with minimal influence on the hens that laid them, and no loss of life because the eggs are unfertilised. The human caretakers could provide supplementary food and appropriate housing for the hens, and the hens in return could provide food for the humans in a way that involves no obvious welfare concern. But, this is an idyllic concept; it would be impossible to meet the present demand for eggs by producing them in this way.
Translated title of the contributionThe Welfare and Ethical Assessment of Housing for Egg Production
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Welfare of Domestic Fowl and Other Captive Birds
EditorsI.J.H. Duncan, P. Hawkins
PublisherSpringer, Dordrecht
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 2010

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