The egg industry is often thought of as humane … no hen dies laying an egg right? Its basically something hens do so why not eat those eggs since they aren’t going to be producing chicks they will just go to waste if we don ‘t eat them?!
So what is wrong with the egg industry? The egg industry is cruel! Male chicks are destroyed shortly after birth, female chicks have a life of laying an unnatural and unhealthy amount of eggs which will shorten their lives drastically! Egg cartons depict lovely healthy hens running around outside in nature producing ‘happy eggs’ the reality is some what different!
First lets look at what happens to all the male chicks! Only a few are needed for breeding purposes and egg laying chicks are not the same as poultry raised for meat so the male chicks are useless and therefore thrown away! Yep discarded … humanely? nope!!! Some are literally thrown away and left to suffocate and die … picture that huge bins full of male chicks one day old left to suffocate and die … literally the bin bag is tied together and they are left to die a slow, horrific death! Or they are chucked into a high speed mincer and ground up … alive … and often made into meal for chickens and other animals to feed on! Or the ‘lucky’ ones are gassed! Perfect now we have got rid of the useless lads lets look at the joy awaiting the ladies!
You made it! You are female so you get to live a joyous, productive life, you are precious to the farmer so they will take good care of you my lovely! Nope here’s whats coming for you and you might just wish you had been born male!
The Battery Hen … you are the lowest of the low, the cheapest eggs come from you… But WAIT! Battery hens are a thing of the past aren’t they? Well in 2012 Battery hen farming was banned whoop whoop NOW farmers provide and ‘enriched’ cage for you my precious! So what does that mean? It means you will have a perch … that perch may only be a few cm of the ground but hey ho! or you may not be able to stand tall on it cause the top of the cage is too close, oh and you have to share it with up to 10 hens. You will now have an extra 20% of room compared to your battery farmed ancestors… whoop whoop … so an A4 size plus a postcard… so still no room to run or stretch your wings. You will share a nest space, litter and scratching material … however your floor will still be wire… good luck in there little one… feather pecking and cannibalism will still be a problem and if you aren’t dominant then you aren’t getting to the perch, nest, scratching area! Just sayin’.
Hey though you could end up in a colony cage… This will be a larger cage in an aircraft hanger type building full of these larger cages and in them 60-80 hens. Sorry…no there is no extra room per hen and between 80 of you 4 nesting boxes … good luck! Lets be clear you will still have no access to the outdoors, no opportunity to dustbathe or sunbathe, if you are a submissive hen you will not be able to escape the dominant hens and you will likely sustain injuries as a result! Basically you will not be able to behave naturally.
Free Range … but my darling you might make it to free range …. squeak the Holy Grail for a egg laying hen! Well maybe … some small farm producers will allow their chickens free run of a field with a chance to play and embark on natural behaviours and at night close them into comfy safe coups where you can rest, nest, perch etc in safety. Others in fact the vast majority will follow the letter of the law and ignore the spirit of the law and will provide a small area for hens to venture out to through small openings, however these are hard to get to and most hens are too traumatised to find their way!
So lets look at the hens well being in nature a hen would lay around 20 eggs per year, farmed hens are genetically manipulated to produce around 300 per year! Hens use their own stores of calcium to create the egg shell and they simply don’t have enough to produce so many eggs and so they suffer with osteoporosis and broken bones. The feed they are given is so poor that they can’t replenish their lost calcium through their diet.
Hens, in nature, have a lifespan of around 10-20 years in captivity they are ‘spent’ at around 1-11/2 years and slaughtered! Their meat is not good quality so it is used in soups, pies, baby food and other processed foods. We have literally drained the life out of them it is truly barbaric!
Almost all hens have their beaks trimmed without anaesthetic , the beak is sensitive to pain and also this impedes ‘normal’ behaviour! It is done to stop birds pecking each others feathers off and killing and eating each other … behaviour which only occurs because of their unnatural tortuous living conditions! So we are solving a problem we have created with another torturous practice! I mean really?
Even having hens in your yard contributes to the killing … no one wants all those cocks crowing them awake in the morning! Maybe you rescued some hens from a battery farm who were on their way to slaughter… so why not eat the eggs they lay? They lay them anyway so they will just go to waste! The thing is these hens have been bred to lay but as stated before it causes a significant loss of calcium… if they were to be left to eat their own eggs they could replenish some of that calcium, this is what they would do in the wild if an egg wasn’t going to be fertilised. Hens like to lay in clutches and if they are left to lay a clutch, rather than you taking them away they will produce less eggs, you taking away their eggs causes them to lay more. Of course as they go rotten its necessary to remove them to keep the area disease free but until that point they aren’t yours to take so leave them … if you take them and eat them you are perpetuating a supply and demand and as vegans we don’t believe that animal produce is for us to take so why would it be ok and its a bit gross when you think about it you are literally eating a hens period! Seriously!!!!
For every action there is a consequence sometimes good sometimes bad! When we choose to use animals as a product, a commodity … in my opinion… the consequence is ALWAYS bad.