What's a good chicken per cage ratio?

The proper answer is probably zero, but NPR’s Dan Charles reports on the baby steps egg farmers are taking to give egg-laying chickens more room, along with the odd partnership they’ve formed with the humane society to enact a federal law and the even odder enmity with cattle- and dairymen.

So if United Egg Producers, representing 95 percent of all U.S. egg production, wants this law and some of the industry’s fiercest enemies do too, who could be against it?

Well, as it happens, some influential farm organizations. Beef producers, hog farmers, dairy farmers and the American Farm Bureau have all lined up against it.

Bill Donald, a rancher in Melville, Mont., and president of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, says it would be a terrible precedent to get the government involved in keeping farm animals happy. Who knows what regulations might come next?

I’m sure if egg farmers—and egg eaters—can swallow an incremental increase in price, then pig, cattle, and dairy farmers could handle it, too. A few pennies a pound would be well worth it to give these animals a bit more room.

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