Thanks for making it to my part of the site. Once a city girl, now a farm girl-I love my life, my family and my gang of animals. Organic gardening is my time suck, but it is the way we have chosen to live and eat. And well, I have an opinion or two that I would love to share with you. I hope you enjoy.
Today, I would like you to consider this… Eggs!
I know a picture is worth a thousand words, but I am going to spare you the tortured animal images and just suggest a few things to consider the next time you go to the grocery store to pick up a dozen or order your sunny-side-up breakfast at the local diner.
Last year the United States produced about 7.5 billion eggs and after exports were considered, Americans ate over 270 eggs each. Canadian numbers are about the same. China is the largest producer of eggs weighing in at a production of almost 5 times as many as the USA. It seems that a combination of the latest protein crazes together with the “they” sayers telling us that eggs are actually good for us, has caused an increase in these numbers. But I think it would be safe to say that for the most part, people don’t give much thought as to how these food items make it to our plates.
Globally each year the egg industry disposes of six billion male chicks either by suffocation or they are thrown alive into macerators and ground up, and this may sound harsh but they are likely the lucky ones. Next, the numbers suggest that over 90% of all laying hens spend their entire lives in battery cages. That is a wire enclosure allowing only 70 square inches per bird and to give perspective to that number a standard sheet of paper is 94 square inches. Rather than give these animals more room often their beaks are partially cut off, which is extremely painful. As well, the egg industry finds it acceptable to deprive hens of food for periods of 1 to 3 weeks straight in order to manipulate the egg production and to save on their feed costs. And last but not least, these defenseless animals after enduring a tortuous life (I left many of the gruesome details out) are sent to slaughter once their production decreases. Added to this, it takes 53 gallons of water to produce a SINGLE egg. With well over a trillion eggs produced, the math is staggering!
I guess the best answer to this disgusting treatment of these surprisingly intelligent and social animals, is to simply stop eating eggs. There are a lot of delicious plant-based egg substitutes out there that my vegan friends all swear by. I have tried several and have to agree, they are a great alternative. The internet is filled with egg-free recipes and stores are beginning to stock more egg replacements. But there is not a quick and easy answer, because this industry employs hundreds of thousands of jobs globally and contributes billions of dollars to economies. Eggs are also an inexpensive way to feed many who cannot afford much else. Not to mention that everyone will not make the vegan choice and abstain completely. So what else can we do?
First and foremost is for each of us to take the time to learn exactly what we are buying and the path it travels to get to our shopping cart. Try not to get sucked in by terms like free range and cage free, because for the most part these terms mean very little for the treatment of the animals. After that, we all have choices. We can cut back our egg consumption, partially or altogether. Try making your next batch of cookies with an egg replacement and I bet you will be pleasantly surprised. One particularly good option is a Vegan Egg made by Follow Your Heart. You may even want to consider raising a couple of chickens yourself-it is easy and a little addicting. You can contact local and federal governments and demand they ban the use of battery cages and the practice of debeaking. You can source out small farms or backyard operations and buy from them. We all know the power of social media – use it. Leave messages on Egg Organization sites, your government representatives, and on company sites that use battery eggs and yes, even sign those petitions. We need to let industries, companies and governments know that we will not tolerate these practices any longer! And we do this with our dollars, our words and our unified stance.
Always remember, there are more of us then there is of them. Ignorance is their power and knowledge is ours.