Supporters of free range eggs got a boost this week when scientists at Cambridge discovered that chicken eggs, laid by chickens allowed to play and run and dance whilst listening to classical music and pod casts by Stephen Fry, produced eggs that were bigger, more nutritious and less smelly than cage reared chickens.
"We've long suspected that a small chicken sized cage is not the ideal environment for chickens," said Peter Petter, a spokesman for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. "It is great news to hear that this has been backed up by a scientific study."
The study has been ongoing now for five years, comparing the eggs produced by caged chickens and those with large barns, play equipment and access to the internet.
"It seems fairly obvious," said Petter, "a chicken living in a small cage is like a trailer park occupant. Less healthy, drinking constantly, pumped full of drugs and shedding feathers. Whereas the big fields where chickens can run freely is like suburbia, with bicycles and double fronted hen houses."
Although the eggs produced by playing fowl are much healthier, better looking and have superior sporting prowess, one acre of land can only produce a thousand eggs a week. This makes the eggs prohibitively expensive, when one acre of caged chickens can produce fifty thousand eggs.
"Although I prefer eggs from happy hens," said lead scientist on the study, Ken Chi, "I'm a scientist. I only earn thirty thousand a year. I can't afford them."