After reading a recent article, I have to say that this is the first time I’m seriously considered giving up eating eggs. I’ve always been ok with eating eggs, but now I’m rethinking my position.
Chickens are naturally supposed to lay 25-30 eggs a year, they are now forced to lay up to 300. Their bodies simply can’t keep up with that pace. As a result they are calcium deficient, weak and their productive years are reduced from 10 to 2.
When they are no longer productive, they are useless to the farms and ‘discarded’. They are ground up into feed, while they are still alive! Or suffocated in plastic bags and thrown away! Even many, if not most, farms who tout their ‘free-range’ status partake in these practices.
So, is buying free-range even better? I’m grappling with that question as I type. I have no definitive answer, but I’m leaning toward “not really.”
Most free-range farms still kill, or have their chickens killed, after only two years of life. Most free-range farms get their chickens from hatcheries where the males are killed within a day of life because they can’t lay eggs. I couldn’t stop crying when I saw the footage of sex selection at hatcheries.
Free-range doesn’t even mean the birds are actually outside. It just means they have access to being outside.
Because there are so many different labels (organic, free-range, etc.) with inconsistent definitions and regulations, it’s difficult to determine which products are the most “humane.” Since none of the labels apply to transport or slaughter and none prohibits bodily mutilations such as debeaking, tail-docking, ear-notching, or dehorning, the worst cruelty continues to be completely unregulated.
The more I learn, the closer I am to giving up eggs. I know I won’t buy eggs at the grocery store again. Even my free-range, organic ones that I felt good about buying only yesterday. Next week at the farmers market I’m going to have a long talk with our egg farmer to find out if even buying his eggs are still an option. And I’ll need to visit of course to see for myself what is going on.
Here is a video which summarizes the issues. I have to warn you, this video is one of many I watched tonight, and my eyes are still bloodshot.