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High in fat and protein, low in sugar and carbs, and a vital ingredient in a plethora of dishes in every culture on earth, eggs are a staple for a reason. Unfortunately, buying eggs today isn’t as simple as it used to be. Today’s eggs come with additional labels, like “free-range,’ “organic,” or “cage-free.” At the very least, everyone should be buying cage-free eggs over generic supermarket eggs. Here are three reasons why.

Why You Should Buy Cage-Free Eggs

It’s more humane

The cage-free designation means that the eggs come from hens that aren’t confined to cages. In traditional egg production, hens are crowded into battery cages, given just enough room to move their heads to eat. These hens are forced to live their entire lives laying and defecating right where they stand, which is unnatural and inhumane to the hen. On the contrary, a cage-free environment allows the hens to roam, mingle, scratch, perch, and build nests, all of which are natural parts of a chicken’s life.

There’s less risk of disease

Every once in a while, there seems to be a salmonella egg outbreak somewhere in the United States. This usually occurs in factory-produced eggs. Crowding hens into battery cages promotes unsanitary conditions, which in turn promotes disease, namely salmonella. In fact, salmonella is five times more likely to occur in battery cages compared to the cage-free system, according to the European Food Safety Authority.

Battery cage operations usually have more airborne fecal dust, insects, and rodents, all of which can exacerbate disease. In comparison, cage-free farming is cleaner and less stressful for the hen, promoting its overall health and immunity to illnesses. That, in turn, translates to disease-free eggs.

The eggs are healthier

Overall, healthy hens equal healthy eggs. A bird raised outside of a cage will have a better diet, fortifying its gut floral and boosting its immunity. The opportunity to participate in natural activities also leads to a happier bird, and happier birds lay eggs with strong shells, vibrant yolks, and complete nutrition. Some people are even able to taste the difference between a regular and cage-free egg, with the latter being reported to be more flavorful.