The Green Lantern, a weekly environmental column of the online publication Slate, grudgingly reported yesterday that conventionally raised laying hens produce eggs more efficiently -- and, therefore, environmentally friendlier -- than cage-free or "organic" chickens.
(HOTH supposes this means all those who streadfastly profess to be at the forefront of the "eco-consumer" movement -- locavores driving their electric cars to the local farmer's market to purchase "green" eggs -- actually are harming our environment.)
The column noted that, compared with conventionally raised chickens, free-range chickens need 18 percent more feed, and organic ones require 20 percent more; mortality rates are higher among chickens running all over God's green earth; and it's harder to regulate ammonia emissions from their poop.
The column also compared the land needed to conventionally produce eggs with the land required to produce chicken meat, pork and milk. What it didn't compare was the space needed to produce eggs conventionally with that needed for cage-free and organic eggs. That's because it takes a lot more land for the latter two.
But, alas, The Green Lantern justified buying those more expensive -- and apparently more environmentally damaging -- cage-free and organic eggs, saying "uncaged" hens have "the freedom to exercise and engage in natural behaviors such as nesting and dust-bathing."
Ah, yes, there's nothing like a good dust bath.