Moo-ving people toward compassionate living
From Cecile Roche - 12 Mar 2005
I just had a look at your website page on the cruel treatment of birds in the egg-production / chicken meat industry, and I share your views on this unacceptable abuse. However, as the owner of a small flock of free-ranging, pampered, organically-raised chickens, I feel you are not being entirely honest to your readers. There are humane alternatives to such soulless animal exploitation. More and more farmers offer eggs from hens that have access to plenty of room to exercise, reasonable size flocks where they can socialize but not be crowded, bugs and wild plants to sample, a rooster or too for those who like to have a sex life and protect them from hawks, clean comfy nests to lay their eggs. Such operations not only refrain from unnecessary cruelty, but actually preserve them from many of the horrors nature has in store from them: being snatched up and eaten alive by a hawk, going hungry or cold in winter, having a whole nest devastated by a raccoon just before it hatches, and many others. And apart from a few rare game hens, belonging to breeds only recently domesticated, I have never known a hen to mourn an egg, much less attempt to rescue one. Chickens have been domesticated since biblical times, and I don't know of any part of the Good Book suggesting to go vegan.
Possibly your web page might inform your readers that eggs produced in ideal or near ideal conditions are in fact increasingly available to consumers, both in farmers' markets or even in supermarkets. Look for "cage-free" (which usually means a community building with solid floor, which eliminates most of the injuries you describe) or even better, free-range (outdoors). Also look for mention that hens were fed vegetarian feed only (no ground-up slaughterhouse leftovers), though it must be noted that chickens are not naturally vegan, and will eat bugs, worms, small vertebrates and the eggs of other species when they can can find them on the range. To replace an extreme with another only encourages moderate people to stay with the status quo. You would do farm animal a better service by pointing to the "lesser evil" (if thats' how you see it) of gentle caring egg, milk and meat production, so most people who are not ready to live on bean curd and soy products can have a humane, workable alternative.
Best of luck protecting the animals
Reply from Frank and Mary
Thank you for your letter.
We acknowledge that there are some farmed animals that are much more humanely treated on a small percentage of farms. The problem is that 95% of the animal products on the market come from these factory farms. We have also visited some small farms and found the animals being treated very badly.
We have also learned of several large free-range and organic farms are not really what they advertised themselves to be. This is particularly true in the poultry business.
Simply put, we haven't found any way of telling our visitors what animal products are truly humane. We just haven't found any, other than the eggs of hens on a sanctuary where they are very well treated and never killed, but their eggs are not sold commercially.
In the Love of the Lord,
Frank and Mary
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