Eggribusiness
An Animal Rights Article from All-Creatures.org

FROM

Humane Farming Association (HFA)
May 2011

Over 98% of the egg market is under the control of huge agribusiness corporations. This surplus of cheap factory eggs is certainly no benefit to consumers. When the eggs you buy are tainted, the hidden costs are much higher than the price per dozen!

Today's eggs come from huge indoor factories where literally millions of hens are kept in the most inhumane, disease-ridden conditions imaginable.

In the crowded "battery cages" of today's egg factories, the life of a factory farmed hen is one of intense suffering. She is confined her entire life in a tiny cage with four, five (or more) other hens. There's barely room to stand, let alone walk or stretch her wings. Normal behaviors such as nest building, dust bathing, perching, scratching the ground, and walking are all impossible.

HFA's extensive investigation of the egg industry has revealed:

  • The advertising phrase "No Hormones" is used deceptively by the industry to lead consumers to believe eggs are raised naturally. The industry fails to warn of the enormous amounts of antibiotics, pesticides, and other chemicals used.
  • Up to five hens are crowded for life in a cage with the floor space barely larger than the size of a folded newspaper.
  • Egg yolks can be chemically dyed to achieve a "natural" yellow look. (Sunlight helps give yolks their yellow color. In the egg factory, however, there is no sunlight.)
  • Barely able to move, the hens incessantly strike out in frustration - pecking at the only thing available: each other.
  • To reduce cannibalism, laying hens are "debeaked." Debeaking is a painful procedure whereby the hen's sensitive upper beak is sliced off with a hot blade. Many die from shock during the process.
  • Male chicks are of no value to the egg industry. They are thrown into plastic bags to suffocate slowly under the weight of chicks dumped on top. Others are ground into animal feed - while still alive.
  • When egg production declines, the hens are starved and denied water for several days. This "forced molting" shocks the hens into losing their feathers and starting a new laying cycle. Many die during this torturous process.
  • Veterinary care is non-existent. Individual hens are considered cheap and expendable. Critically ill birds are simply thrown onto "dead piles."

ANYTHING GOES WITH EGGS?

Anything goes, all right - antibiotics, pesticides, food poisoning, "debeaking" hens with hot blades, suffocating baby chicks, food and water deprivation, battery caging….

Excessive cholesterol is only one among many hazards posed by egg consumption. To keep millions of hens alive in the polluted egg factory environment, the industry relies upon antibiotics, pesticides, and other hazardous chemicals. The toxic dangers these hidden ingredients pose to consumers make the health hazards associated with cholesterol seem minor by comparison.

Can eggs from drugged and diseased hens possibly be good for consumers as the advertisements claim? Certainly not. Leading public health professionals warn that the wholesale misuse of antibiotics is creating hazardous strains of bacteria, such as salmonella. Many of these antibiotic resistant "super bugs" can be lethal to human beings.

Insecticides are not only sprayed around the hens' cages, but are actually mixed in the feed given to the hens. "Feed through" insecticides, many of which are illegal, make the excrement that piles up in and around the cages toxic to flies and other insects. As debate rages as to what constitutes an "acceptable" level of toxins in eggs - hens, human beings, and the environment continue to be poisoned.

Over 98% of the egg market is under the control of huge agribusiness corporations. This surplus of cheap factory eggs is certainly no benefit to consumers. When the eggs you buy are tainted, the hidden costs are much higher than the price per dozen!

The Humane Farming Association believes all animals deserve to be treated with compassion and decency.


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