I’ve been an animal rights activist for several years now, and one thing I’ve learned is that egg laying hens are probably the most abused and mistreated farm animals. While there is often a lot of cruelty and animal abuse involved in meat production, egg laying hens are often confined in cages so small they can’t walk or spread their wings for virtually their entire lives. Once I found out about what is really involved in battery cage egg production, I made the switch to cage-free eggs just as many caring consumers worldwide have done. Then I found out that cage-free and free range egg production often doesn’t result in a much better environment for egg-laying chickens because large cage-free producers cram so many birds into such a small space.
Dismayed, I set out to find a local source of truly humane, free-range eggs. If you really want to know where your eggs come from and how they are produced, the best thing you can do is find a farm that sells eggs and will let you tour their facilities. I live near Baltimore, Maryland, so I did some research on the internet about egg-producing farms in the Baltimore metro area. One of the farms I found out about is called Springfield Farm and is located in Sparks, Maryland (which is near the Hunt Valley and Cockeysville areas). Springfield Farm had a nice website with a decent amount of information about their farm, and the website also stated that visitors were more than welcome to come see the farm and look at how the animals were raised. Springfield Farm sounded like it could be the source of local, humane cage-free eggs we had been looking for, so my boyfriend and I decided to drive out and see the farm for ourselves.
When we got to Springfield Farm, we checked in with the staff at the farm store, who were very friendly and told us where we could find the different animals, including the egg-laying hens. Then we were able to walk around the farm and look wherever we wanted, without being accompanied by and farm staff members…you could tell that Springfield Farm had nothing to hide. The egg-laying hens seemed very happy, and had plenty of space to run around in the grass, as well as access to clean water, food, and shelter at all times. It was a pretty small flock of chickens, and they were not at all over-crowded–Springfield Farm really did remind me of the small-family farms that most people envision their food comes from.
In the end, I was very comfortable with the way the hens at Springfield Farm near Baltimore, Maryland were treated. A far cry from the images of the egg farms I’ve seen on countless websites, the hens at Springfield Farm really did seem to have great lives. From now on, my boyfriend and I are going to try to buy all of our free range eggs from this Baltimore area farm, since we know they are locally and humanely produced. A dozen large cage-free eggs cost about $4.00 from Springfield Farm, which is a little bit more than grocery store prices, but well worth the money if you ask me. Springfield Farm is located on Yeoho Road in Sparks, Maryland. People in the Baltimore area who would like to buy local, humane eggs can get more information about the farm by visiting their website listed in the resources section of this article, or by calling the farm at (410) 472-0738.