Going Back in Time
Much of the rhetoric surrounding the push for for enriched and cage free layer systems surrounds the idea of supporting repressed common poultry behavior. The question that should be asked is "Do we really have to support every behavior that the birds possess? Humans used to be hunter gatherers that would move in groups to hunt, kill and maintain territorial bounds by force. We obviously no longer do all that, but are we frustrating ourselves as other groups feel we are imposing on chickens in cages?
If we are placing birds on wire, not in dirt do they really need to bathe in dust? In my years of work I have seen most behaviors exhibited in both cage and cage free systems. Yes, layers will simulate dust bathing, wing & leg stretching and so forth. I have also seen gang picking in larger aviary and range situations as well.
The answer to housing poultry is to look to bird behavior that we wish to support, and more importantly pay to support. If US consumers wish to have cage free production, they will need to support all the requirements of such production. If humane caged (e.g. UEP) systems are important then consumers should financially support those activities as well. There is no free lunch and each system has both positive and negative aspects. What is needed is choice; pushing for markets without choice in the US is against the tenets of capitalism itself. The market will ultimately tell the consumers choice of what is important to them.