Treehugger has a post trumpeting McDonald's decision to drop an egg supplier whose workers abused their chickens.
Here I have to reveal my crimes of the past: upon occasion when I was a boy I was cruel to some of our hens, doing some of the same things cited in the piece. I won't defend what I did. I will say, perhaps showing a conservative streak, whenever one person has power over something or someone you run the danger of abuse. That's true whether you're giving a young soldier a gun and putting him in a foreign land or giving a growing boy power over hens.
Based on that conviction I say to my foodie friends they can't assume that hens will get humane treatment with small growers. They just can't. Humans can be evil. I know, I was one.