Wednesday, June 8, 2016

A Dozen Disturbing Facts About The Egg Industry

With the internet connecting everyone to growing media outlets, it's getting hard to escape videos and articles about how the animal agriculture industry isn't exactly the picture of health, or Old MacDonald's Farm it paints. The awful and unsanitary conditions of factory farms became a health concern I worried about, and was one of the first reasons on my list of why I became a vegetarian.

I knew cattle "raising" was bad, but what I wasn't aware of is how the egg industry is just as messed up. Eating mostly plant based for the last few years, I maybe consume 4 eggs a year when times are rough and I can steal one of my room mates. After all the disturbing things I learned, I think I may be cured of eating an egg again.

I knew that while chicken farming uses less resources than cows, they still play a big part in environmental destruction. I knew that the male chicks were ground up and discarded and I knew the cage conditions were cramped and gross. I also was aware that chickens were more intelligent, social and loving than they are given credit for. Though I didn't realize they were up there with that of primates!

What I didn't know was the details as to just how shitty mass egg production is. Like many people when it comes to animal products in general, we tend not to think about it too hard. With eggs, we sorta imagine that while the hens aren't in fabulous conditions, that they are just naturally laying their eggs to be collected. It really is more of a gonzo horror show.

A Dozen Facts About Egg Production

1. Egg industry chickens have been genetically altered to lay 250-350 eggs a year. Chickens naturally in the wild lay only 12 eggs a year, very similar to human females having a cycle 12 times a year.

2. Chickens don't lay eggs like in the cartoons, where they feel a little surprise, turn around, and TADA, an egg is in the nest. Nope, she lays one egg a day, sometimes taking all day. Back to back strain.

3. The egg industry is bad for the environment, wasting tons of grain and water resources, and contaminating ground and running bodies of water.

4. The industry purposely practices "forced molting" through starvation of hens to stress them into egg laying cycles. In the United States, surviving hens are put to repeatedly put through the forced molting cycle until their combs turn blue.

5. Their beaks are cut or seared off so they don't practice natural pecking behavior, which would interfere with egg production.

6. Eggs really aren't incredible and edible. Studies show that eggs are the second leading cause of salmonella poisoning, and contribute to higher rates of heart disease, diabetes and cancer. So much in fact, that the USDA has prohibited eggs to be advertised as safe or healthy.

7. Chickens natural lifespans are 10-20 years, but with their factory farm existence, they become "spent hens" at 1 and a half years of age. The exhausted and non-profitable chickens are then slaughtered.

8. Spent hens which are no healthy looking with deformities and bruises from their conditions are used in cheaper packaged foods such as chicken pot pies, meat pockets, chunky chicken soups, etc.

9. Chickens are not protected through the Animal Welfare Act or the Human Slaughter Act. So there is no regulation against slaughtering conscious hens in painful and traumatic ways.

10. The hens that are in skin and bones poor condition, or dead, get ground up and squeezed out of an extruder into tubes Play-Doh playset style, and get cut into dry pellets for livestock to eat. That livestock includes chickens, by the way. That's kind of washed up, man.

11.  A "Certified Free Range" label is misleading. Since packaging contains graphics of happy chickens in grassy green farms, the thought that thousands of chickens cramped into sheds doesn't exactly pop into ones head. Dark, stank sheds with no fresh air or sunlight still qualifies as free range, as the chickens are not in cages.

12.  Thousands of hens pooping and peeing in cramped spaces is a breeding ground for toxic gas and bacteria build up. Because of this, it is "normal" for egg laying hens to have viral infections, eye infections and, upper respiratory tract infections.

Erin Janus has a great video below with way more details on these topics. Be warned, you will see a lot of unhappy chickens with a lot of unhappy things happening to them. I think it is something necessary to see. If you want to turn your eyes way, I still recommend listening to the video and the information it has to offer.

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