I took my son to an Easter egg hunt on Easter Day 2011. It was his first Easter. I didn’t call ahead of time to ask if the eggs were going to be chicken’s eggs or plastic eggs. I knew they’d be plastic. We went to an Easter egg hunt today, too. Again, I didn’t bother asking if the eggs used would be plastic because I knew they’d be plastic.
How did I know? Well, chicken’s eggs for Easter hunts are more work and more liability than plastic eggs. No one in their right mind would use real eggs for a children’s event these days. Here’s why:
- Chicken’s eggs would have to have been boiled and dyed, which is a lot of work.
- Then, the egg hunt organizers would have to worry about the mess the eggs could make if they got trampled or used as weapons (as children are wont to do).
- And lots of kids are allergic to eggs these days, too.
- Lastly, the organizers would have to worry about the possibility of salmonella for anyone involved in handling the eggs before, during, or after the egg hunt.
That’s a lot to worry about - a lot more than my worries about finding vegan Easter candy and activities for my vegan family. So I knew those eggs would be plastic eggs. And to my surprise, the organizers reminded everyone to recycle their plastic eggs.
It reminded me of how much easier it is to be vegan these days than when I was a kid. I distinctly remember many Easter egg hunts that involved chicken’s eggs when I was a kid. And though I ate eggs at the time, I remember thinking that Easter egg hunts were a poor use for eggs. It seemed so wasteful to have all these hard boiled eggs just for a kid’s game, knowing only a few of them would ever get eaten. (I remember wondering, Why weren’t the eggs given to hungry people?)
Well now it looks like the American public is moving away from chicken’s eggs in other ares, too, not just egg hunts. In 2011, the Wall Street Journal reported “Egg consumption has declined every year since 2006, according to the USDA.” This trend has continued in 2012 and there’s every reason to believe it will continue well into the future.
The decline is related to a lot of things, but it’s probably partially due to the increased public awareness of cruelty to egg-laying hens on factory farms as well as to the increased public awareness of the health risks of eating eggs (high cholesterol, salmonella, etc.). But it’s probably also due to the array of egg alternatives currently available. Compassion Over Killing (COK) writes:
Let’s hope the trend continues – for the benefit of animals, the planet, and human health.
Note: This article was originally published in April 2011. After minor edits, it’s been republished in time for Easter 2012.