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  • Writer's pictureNashville Animal Advocacy

The Grim Reality of The Egg Industry

Credit: Jo-Anne McArthur/We Animals Media

When we truly think about the consumption of dead bodies and animal secretions, it's really gross. Due to our societal conditioning, we rarely give eating animals a thought. Just the mention of abandoning animal products, especially cheese and eggs, can send some of us into justification overdrive. The refusal to give up what essentially equates to coagulated estrogen fluid and menstruation (only harsher) is a weird hill to die on.

But let's give consideration to the animals exploited for animal agribusiness. The egg industry has selectively bred hens to lay 300+ eggs each year, when they would naturally lay 12-15 eggs in 1-2 clutches annually. Egg laying is a labor-intensive process.

Being that male chicks cannot lay eggs, the industry considers them worthless.  They are macerated, suffocated or drowned at one day old. The industry uses the euphemism "chick culling" because it sounds nicer than "ground alive." But that's exactly what happens to 7 BILLION male chicks born into the egg industry hatcheries every year.

Female chicks never know the love and comfort of their mothers. As hatchlings, they experience mutilation in most factory farms by having a portion of their sensitive beaks cut off by a hot blade without painkillers to reduce the inevitable pecking behaviors due to the torturous and stressful confinement. Debeaking can reduce a chick's ability to eat because of pain, damaged nerve receptors or the beak shape, causing reduced body weight.

Five to ten egg layer hens are stuffed into battery cages, giving them no more room than a sheet of paper. Not even able to spread their wings. Kept their entire lives in a cage, they live in their own waste. The stench of ammonia and toxic gases can cause eye infections and upper respiratory infections. Standing on wire floors causes debilitating foot conditions.

But what about "free range" and "cage free" eggs? Tens to hundreds of thousands of hens are tightly confined inside huge, sunless sheds. Some eggs can be labeled as "free range" if the chicken sheds have a small opening that leads to an outdoor 10 ft fenced area that's accessible for at least an hour a day. Most hens never find the opening. "Free range" is just a marketing tactic designed to make us feel good about our cruel choices.

Laying nearly an egg a day takes a toll on a hen's body. Egg laying requires a lot of calcium to form the egg shell. The results are a depletion of calcium in hens that leads to high rates of osteoporosis. They suffer from potentially fatal reproductive illnesses like egg peritonitis, salpingitis, egg binding and cloacal prolapse.

When a hen's egg production declines around 18 months of age, the industry thanks her for her service. Just kidding, they slit her throat. Egg layers are not to be confused with broiler chickens exploited in the meat industry. That's a separate horror story. Broiler chickens don't make it past 6 weeks of age.

Credit: Chris Shoebridge

Please consider leaving eggs off your plate and switch to plant-based options.

Click here for VEGAN RESOURCES



Egg substitutes for baking/binding:

1  overripe banana = 1 egg

1/4 cup silken tofu = 1 egg

1/4 cup plain vegan yogurt = 1 egg

1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce = 1 egg

1/4 cup avocado = 1 egg

1/4 cup pumpkin puree = 1 egg

1 T. ground flaxseed + 3 T. water = 1 egg

1 T. chia seeds + 3 T. water = 1 egg

3 T. nut butter = 1 egg

1/4 cup chickpea brine (aquafaba) = 1 egg

For a dry substitute, try an egg replacer

For vegan eggs, try:

*Recommended for a more eggy taste, add some kala namak (Himalayan black salt)

Learn more about the egg industry at Egg-Truth and United Poultry Concerns

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