Impact of corporate commitments on cage-free eggs: preregistration for a study
Commitments sometimes result from conversation with groups advocating to improve the treatment of animals, as cage-free housing is widely believed to provide better welfare for egg-laying hens. When conversation does not work, advocacy groups may run a campaign of public pressure, including protests or shaming in the media, which usually leads to a commitment.
In this preregistration, the Humane League describes a detailed plan to use data from many countries on the share of hens living cage-free to understand the effect of cage-free commitments. The Humane League expects that commitments will shift the industry from caged to cage-free housing for hens. To test this, researchers look at data from before and after commitments were made and in countries with and without commitments. Other factors are also taken into account, like changes in the law and illnesses that kill hens, that could affect how they are housed. Commitments and housing are very likely to affect each other, so advocacy groups' campaigns have been used as a statistical tool to further clarify the cause-and-effect relationship. Once the planned study will be completed, it will provide thorough evidence on the impact of cage-free commitments, which might be useful to advocacy groups, companies making commitments, and the egg industry.