I’m someone who likes to call it like it is. Even if it’s something that I’m originally in favor of, I still want to know the truth, no matter how gross it is. Call it dramatic, I call it not sugar coating something.
So if you couldn’t guess already from the title, this post is about eggs and the egg industry!
I understand the appeal of it all. I used to be an egg fanatic, to the point where it was just gross. For instance, when I first met my boyfriend, I had no clue that he hated eggs. I was vegetarian at the time and once told him that my roommate and I ate a whole carton of eggs in one day, because we had made so many deviled eggs. (Little did I know, he was practically throwing up on the inside because of how gross that was to him!)
My point to that (semi-pointless!) story is that I understand thinking that there’s nothing in the world wrong with the egg industry. It feels good to buy free range eggs and think that you’re doing good because you truly believe that what the carton says is true, that the hens are living on a grassy field and enjoying the sunshine and each other’s company.
So basically, even when I considered myself against the exploitation of animals, I still ate eggs. So all you vegetarians out there, and even just plain omnivores for that matter, I get you.
BUT! After educating myself on the matter of the egg industry, I very quickly realized that I was no longer down with supporting something so inhumane.
When it comes down to it, it’s easy to think that since the egg laying hens don’t die, what’s the big deal? The deal is that instead of having a relatively short life and then being slaughtered, these hens live long(er) lives of absolute torture. Not to mention, once their prime egg-laying years are over, they too are slaughtered for meat just as other animals raised for meat are. The egg industry very much so wants to keep the inhumanity a secret, and make us all think that the mother hens want to lay eggs for us, yadda yadda yadda. Their lives are hell, and it’s all for the sake of human consumption.
Hens are pretty much treated like machines. They go through extremely unnatural procedures to up their production rates, are crammed into as small of a place as possible to save room, and are not treated as living things but more as a product. All the egg industry cares about is production and money, and not the feelings of these poor, beautiful birds.
To address the title of this post, eggs come from chicken menstruation. Chickens have much faster cycles than human females do. It can take as little as 21 hours for a chicken to produce an egg, but it is still the same concept as a human female getting her period, their eggs are just much larger than a human’s is. It’s kind of funny to me that tampon commercials use blue liquid when demonstrating the strength of their product instead of red liquid because the thought of a woman’s period is so gross to so many people, yet we’re eating chicken periods for breakfast. It’s a crazy world we live in!
Another reason why I am not down with the egg industry is because of the mutilation of the hens that happens. Wanna know something that the egg industry doesn’t want us to know? Hens are “debeaked” at just a few days old, without the use of anesthesia or pain killers.
What’s debeaking? It is what it sounds like, it is the burning off of the chicks beak. Not only is this extremely painful, but it also causes major health issues for the hens. They are unable to drink and eat half as well as when they had beaks, and leaves them with “acute and chronic pain, leaving the hens with a condition scientists have compared to phantom limb syndrome in amputees.” The reason for the debeaking is to prevent the hens from harming each other (because they live literally on top of each other for their whole lives and, I don’t know, maybe get a little agitated every once in a while) but in reality, it does not stop injuries from occurring.
Another thing that I don’t particularly love about the egg industry is the disposal of male chicks. Male chicks are considered a “byproduct” in the egg industry, so at just 1 day old they are ground up alive. This happens at all hatcheries, whether it be cage-free, free range, organic, or battery.
There are so many male chicks that they just don’t know what to do with them. I do not find this to be an excuse, but rather another reason why the egg industry should no longer exist.
So how many of you guys know what forced molting is? We’ll start with molting, which is the replacement of old feathers with new ones. Chickens naturally do this over the course of a year, usually in the winter. During winter, nature “discourages” hens from laying eggs and instead encourages them to spend their energy keeping warm and growing more feathers. The egg industry takes advantage of this by starving hens for 5-14 days so they go into shock and unnaturally molt. Along with starving them, they are kept in complete darkness the entire time. This, in return, “pumps a few hundred more eggs out of exhausted hens when it is deemed cheaper to “recycle” them rather than immediately slaughter them after a year of relentless egg- laying on a calcium-deficient diet.” Forced molting doubles the mortality rate of hens during this period.
Another unfortunate aspect of the egg industry is the high-usage of of battery cages. A whopping 95% of eggs in the US come from battery caged hens. What is a battery cage? Battery cages are small wire cages where egg laying hens spend their entire lives. They are shoved into these cages with many other hens, and are not even able to move their wings or stand up.
Can you imagine spending your whole life cramped in between 2 other people, not even being able to stand up or move your arms? I go crazy on 5+ hour flights, and that’s me just sitting in a semi-comfortable airplane seat with the convenience of a flight attendant at the push of a button.
Free range conditions are not much better. “Free range” just means that they are not kept in cages. While this is absolutely a start, don’t get me wrong, the conditions these hens live in are still horrible. They are usually confined to cramped, indoor rooms, never see sunlight, and debeaking, grinding of male chicks, and forced molting absolutely still goes on.
20,000 hens in one barn still counts as free range. That is crazy! That little fact alone shows how the egg industry purposefully manipulates us with terms like “free range” and “cage free” and wants us to believe that our eggs come from happy hens. No such thing.
Another thing I’d like to throw in there is that the hens are not gorgeous and feathery like we see on egg commercials. They are sometimes balding and look horrifying compared to what a chicken should naturally look like. I like my chickens alive, happy, feathery, and beautiful 🙂
Here’s a short vid of the “life cycle of a battery cage hen.” Weird song choice if you ask me, but it’s def worth a watch!
Eggs are also not as healthy as they are cracked up to be (see what I did there?!) It’s no secret that eggs are packed with cholesterol. Eggs are the single largest source of cholesterol in the American diet.
ALSO! Crazy news here people, consuming an egg a day may shorten your life! Harvard did a study where they followed 20,000 doctors over 20 years and found that “those doctors consuming at least one egg a day had a significantly higher all-cause mortality risk, which essentially suggests that consuming even just one egg a day is significantly associated with a shorter lifespan.” CRAZY TOWN. Who new that an omelet each morning could seriously put a damper on your life span?!
So I recently posted about Toronto Pig Save. TPS has a sister organization for chickens called, you guessed it, Toronto Chicken Save. Along with TCS, United Poultry Concerns is an amazing non-profit that is “dedicated to promoting the respectful treatment of domestic fowl.” If you feel like you want to start helping out the ever-so-deserving chickens of the world, check out these organizations!
Chickens are gorgeous animals. I love animals. I don’t want them to suffer, especially if it is for my benefit. End of story.
Let’s show mother hens some respect and leave eggs off our our plates from now on. Have a lovely night everyone!! ❤ ❤ ❤