Free range, cage free, organic. Add one more to think about when you’re grocery-shopping: Medium eggs cause hens less pain when laid, a British farmer tells the Times. “It takes more out of hens to lay large eggs,” he said. “It would be kinder to eat smaller eggs.” Animal-rights groups say laying large eggs can cause osteoporosis and bone breakage in hens.
Another animal specialist notes large eggs often have bloodstains, possible proof of stress. Yet the size trend persists because farmers reap greater profit from large eggs and consumers sense they are getting more for their buck. “I think there are bigger welfare issues that people have in their mind, such as hens in cages,” says a spokesman for a veterinary group. (Read more poultry stories.)