You might think buying cage-free eggs is in the best interest of chickens, especially if it forces battery farmers to change their practices. The total abolition of caged poultry farms would be seen as a major moral victory; at least for the chickens. But what do the chickens think?

As a philosophy professor who’s worked on food issues for my entire career, I’ve come to believe that questions of animal welfare are more complicated than they seem at first glance. It’s not a clear choice which of the possible living conditions for egg-laying hens – furnished cages, cage-free systems, free-range setups – serve them the best.