Good news on the chicken front.
From the HSUS:
“University of Pennsylvania has joined a growing national movement toward improving the lives of farm animals by using only cage-free eggs.” [...]
“U.S. factory farms confine approximately 280 million hens in barren battery cages that are so small, the birds can’t even spread their wings. Each bird has less space than a single sheet of paper on which to live for more than a year before she’s slaughtered.
“While cage-free does not mean cruelty-free, cage-free hens generally have 250-300 percent more space per bird and are able to engage in more of their natural behaviors than are caged hens. Cage-free hens may not be able to go outside and may have parts of their beaks cut off, but they are able to walk, spread their wings, and lay their eggs in nests—all behaviors permanently denied to hens confined in battery cages.”
Bravo to the HSUS for acknowledging the fact that cage-free is not necessarily cruelty-free!
Clearly, Penn’s decision to stop using battery cage eggs is a good one. However, the switch to cage-free eggs isn’t all good. Many cage-free hens live lives nearly as terrible as those in battery cages. It’s a myth to think that cage-free is humane. So, while the switch to cage-free is a good move, it’s only one, tiny inch. In the journey for humane treatment of animals, we have MILES to go.
From Humane Myth:
“Hens used for egg production come from hatcheries, where male chicks (none of which can lay eggs) are killed immediately after hatching. Each year, hundreds of millions of these vulnerable beings are suffocated or ground up alive to produce fertilizer or feed.”
“Chickens used to produce eggs, including eggs labeled ‘cage-free,’ have their beaks forcibly mutilated to minimize the damage they cause each other when crowded together.”
“At all farms, large-scale and small-scale, laying hens are killed when their production declines, typically within two years, as feeding these worn-out individuals cuts directly into profits. Often the bodies of ‘spent’ hens are so ravaged that no one will buy them, and they are ground into fertilizer or just sent to a landfill.”
“If allowed to live free of exploitation and slaughter, chickens can live ten years or more. They protect, feed, and nurture their young, just like other animals.”
Bravo to Humane Myth for creating such a resourceful, informative, and honest website about cage-free farming!
I’ve never personally been a huge fan of eggs, but I did like the occasional omelet or scrambled eggs with salsa. Now that I’m vegan, I enjoy a tasty tofu scramble or a vegan breakfast burrito instead. (Here are some vegan breakfast options.) The switch took a little getting used to, but now I can say with complete certainty that I’m glad I ditched eggs. I feel healthier and my conscience is clearer, too.
hat tip: vegan.com