What’s wrong with eating eggs? Isn’t it fine to eat the eggs laid by my neighbor’s backyard hens?
To understand the answer to these questions, we must look well beyond the conditions under which hens are raised. Seeing backyard hens frolicking in the grass looks wonderful on the surface. Yet, beyond the surface lies the source of virtually all commercially-raised chickens today: the industrial-scale hatcheries that breed billions of birds every year in absolutely appalling conditions and that use cruel practices such as beak amputation, killing of millions of male chicks, and genetic manipulation to optimize egg production which dooms hens to tumors, heart failure, and other serious adverse health effects early in their lives. In short, hatcheries profit on the suffering of some 280 million birds each year in the US, and our demand keeps them in business.
We are developing a slideshow one slide at a time that focuses on what the egg industry doesn’t want you to know. If you care about hens and want to make informed food choices, then these egg facts need your urgent attention. We cannot advocate for their protection if we do not fully understand the reality of their experience.
Beak Amputation. Beak Amputation, sometimes called debeaking or “beak conditioning” is a standard industry practice in the egg industry. Cutting off a bird’s beak would be like cutting off our fingers. The beak serves much the same purpose for the hen as our fingers serve us. Most eggs labeled “cage free,” “free range” and “organic” come from birds that are debeaked at the hatchery when just days old. Beak amputation is just one of the numerous, hideously-cruel practices that hatcheries have become notorious for.
Denial of Basic Maternal Interests. Most hens today do not raise their own young as nature intended and instead are artificially bred to lay infertile eggs with no embryo. As a result, hens are deprived of the very thing that comes most naturally to them: motherhood. Some mistakenly believe that these hens have had their maternal instinct bred out of them. But hens have been devoted mothers at least as long as the earliest fossils of the chicken’s ancestors, discovered some 50 million years ago. Numerous studies attest to the incredibly rich and complex interaction between hens, the unborn embryo in the egg and the chick once hatched. And simple observation can confirm that hens will roost on eggs with the expectation of hatching a healthy chick. In fact, mother hens are known to turn their eggs in precise positions 30 times every day to ensure the healthy birth of a chick.
Male chicks. Millions of male chicks are sorted at egg hatcheries where they are routinely injured by sorting machinery and callous workers and discarded like garbage or thrown in meat grinders alive to become fertilizer. For egg hatcheries, male chicks are so worthless, they are actually a liability. Male chicks don’t produce eggs and they cannot be raised for meat. Wrong breed. Eating eggs directly supports the booming hatcheries industry.
Transport of fertile eggs. Millions of fertile chicken eggs are shipped on planes all over the world. The chicks that hatch from these eggs will be born into a world of industrial scale hatcheries, void of anything familiar or natural to them. They will never experience the mother hen’s nurturing. They will never scratch the dirt under their feet. They will instead be raised in the sterile factory-like environments of modern egg hatcheries where they will sexed, sorted and sent down conveyor belts. Males will be discarded like garbage and most of the females will live a short and stressful life as “layers” in cages (some as small as their bodies and some slightly bigger) and then shipped to slaughterhouses at a fraction of their natural lifespan when their egg production begins to decline.
MORE EGG FACTS BEING ADDED IN THE DAYS TO COME!