I spent years—even decades---denying to myself the occasional reports I heard about the cruelty hidden behind modern egg production. Those reports, I thought, had to be written by extremists and crazies. After all I’d eaten eggs all my life---scrambled, fried, poached, in omeletts, cakes, cassaroles, etc. Eggs are a staple in American life. So, what could be wrong with the egg?
Mary Tyler Moore provides background on this cruel industrial farming practice in a video produced by and used with permission of Farm Sanctuary.
If you’re willing to look, you’ll see that modern egg production is shockingly cruel to one of the most gentle of creatures, the laying hen, who was respected in biblical times for her courage and nurturing character. Today, however, she’s only considered an unfeeling commodity by factory farmers who value the bottom line over the chicken’s welfare. Here, in brief, are the facts I finally had to accept about the modern egg and the chickens who suffer to produce them:
Here's a video of the grueling conditions at one California farm. We have many operators employing the same,common techniques in Maryland.
Video produced by and used with permission of Farm Sanctuary.
One last point: egg producers don’t want you to know this information so their packages and advertisements are sometimes deceptive. Don’t be fooled by notes such as “organic” (which only refers to chicken’s feed) or “certified humane” (which is often a marketing ploy that may have absolutely nothing behind it.) Even the words “free range” can include items 1, 3 and 4 above. Plus many facilities designated “free range” are really not free range for most of the chickens housed in these crowded, filthy factories. And, remember, even if the hens are really free-range and really well-treated, all the male chicks were killed at the hatchery---hundreds of millions of them are killed each year in the United States alone.
Battery Cages are only one step in the institutionalized torture of hens in factory farming. To do something about it in Maryland, join Maryland Votes For Animals.
What’s a conscientious person to do?
So what’s a person to do once she’s finally willing to admit that eggs are cruel? Only you can answer that question for yourself. I choose to forego eggs entirely---I use egg substitute when I’m cooking, and I stop by Whole Foods, Zu Coffee, Emily’s Café or Sticky Fingers Bakery for vegan cakes or cookies when I want something sweet. We’re not dependent on the egg if we choose not to be. We can boycott the cruelty and still eat delicious, healthy and satisfying food.