Consumers shouldn’t be happy about McDonald’s announcement that it will be transitioning to cage-free eggs – and hens shouldn’t be, either (“Briefcase: McDonald’s will transition to use only cage-free eggs,” Page C3, Sept. 10).

Earlier this year, the Coalition for a Sustainable Egg Supply, which was backed by animal scientists, veterinarians, and a national humane group, released research showing glaring deficiencies in cage-free egg farms compared to other hen housing.

This multiyear research project determined that hens in cage-free systems have a higher mortality rate and suffered higher rates of cannibalism and aggression from other birds.

Cage-free housing also had worse indoor air quality and employees in these systems face worse exposure to particulate matter and endotoxins. On top of all that, cage-free eggs come at a significantly higher cost.

Ironically, McDonald’s was also a corporate supporter of this research. But it seems the facts don’t matter.

McDonald’s is caving to pressure from animal-liberation groups, even though these groups don’t support the restaurant chain selling any eggs, much less a Quarter Pounder with Cheese. This move leaves the chain with egg on its face – and the hens with arguably a worse situation.

Will Coggin

director of research, Center for Consumer Freedom