Need eggs? Get ready to open your wallet a little wider.

A new economic study shows that U.S. consumers would pay $2.6 billion more each year for eggs if animal-rights activists succeed in forcing farmers to house laying hens in cage-free systems.

Promar International, the Washington , D.C. , economic consulting firm that performed the analysis, calculated federal spending on food assistance programs for children and the needy also would increase by $169 million annually as a result of higher egg prices.

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Source: Cattlenetwork