Many people are confused about why vegans don’t eat eggs. After all, chickens produce them naturally, don’t they? It’s not like an animal was killed, right?
These are common misconceptions that many people have about the egg industry. Many assume that eating eggs is harmless and cruelty-free, when in fact, Faunalytics has found that eating eggs causes the most days of suffering per day of consumption. This figure may surprise many people upon first reading it, but if you look more into what goes on in the egg industry, you’ll see that it makes a lot of sense:
In order to increase egg-laying speed, hens are bred and given hormone injections to mature faster so that they “reach maturity in a matter of days rather than months.” While wild hens may lay ten to fifteen eggs during a year, factory-farmed hens lay around 250 to 300. Furthermore, they usually live between ten to fifteen years, but factory-farmed hens are slaughtered or left for the dead between a few months and two years.
Chickens are intelligent animals that need mental stimulation, yet most of the hens used for the eggs in the U.S. are kept in “battery cages.” These cages are tiny cages that prevent chickens from walking, spreading their wings, dust bathing, and performing most of their other natural movements. The confinement causes them severe psychological distress and deterioration of their physical health, especially since feces and urine cake onto the cages. Often times, these hens lose their feathers, break their bones, and become ill.
Source: Kinder World/Youtube
Because hens are cramped in such tight spaces that prohibit them from partaking in normal activities, their mental states suffer. As a result, hens may take to “cannibalistic pecking,” which includes “vent picking, feather pulling, toe picking, and head picking.” To prevent the chickens from pecking at each other’s and their own feathers, most farms now “de-beak” their chickens by searing off part of their beaks. Some birds are slaughtered before their beaks grow back; however, hens have to undergo this painful procedure multiple times. Not only is debeaking extremely painful, but it also causes mental distress and depression in chickens.
Manipulation of Biological Cycles
Many farms use light to control behavior and manipulate egg-laying cycles. Changing the brightness of the light to create “unnaturally long periods of simulated daylight,” manipulates hens’ biological cycles so that they lay eggs in the winter and fall, rather than just spring and summer.
Starvation and “Forced Molting”
Another way that farmers increase egg-production is through “forced molting.” Similar to the unnatural lighting, farmers will starve hens for five to twenty-one days to manipulate their biological cycles. Starvation causes hens to lose weight, stop laying eggs, and lose their feathers, which somewhat mimics natural molting. Molting naturally occurs “once a year, in the autumn, but forced molting allows farms to control when this happens and cause it to happen earlier.” As a result, farmers get more and sometimes bigger eggs, which thereby increases their profits. Forced molting, which may occur up to three times, distresses hens mentally and physically. It also can increase the likelihood of eggs containing salmonella.
Immediately Taking Away Her Eggs
When hens’ eggs are taken away, their instinct is to lay more. Thus, by constantly taking eggs away from hens, the egg industry forces them to lay far more eggs than they ever would naturally. This puts an incredible amount of stress on hens’ bodies. Furthermore, hens have a natural instinct to help hatch and care for their baby chicks. However, eggs are immediately taken from them when during breeding as well, which means that hens are denied this important experience.
Grinding Up Baby Chicks Alive
Male chicks face a particularly cruel fate in the egg industry. Like their female counterparts who go on to become egg-laying hens for the egg industry, male chicks are hatched in an incubator and denied the love and care of their mothers. However, because male chicks aren’t of any use to the egg industry, they are thrown on a conveyer belt that leads to a large machine that grinds the baby chicks up alive or suffocated to death.
Broken Bones, Disease, and Injury
Because of all of these stressors like increased egg-laying, physical mutilation, and an inability to perform their most basic natural instincts, chickens develop a multitude of diseases and physical ailments. Many hens suffer from broken bones and osteoporosis due to factory farm stress. Because they produce such an unnatural amount of eggs, minerals that should go to their bones, go to the eggs instead, thereby starving their bone of vital minerals. Furthermore, hens’ bodies cannot handle the premature growth and excessive egg-laying. Thus, they suffer various ay develop painful deformities in their legs, heart failure, and bad organ development.
If hens don’t die of their various stress-induced ailments or exhaustion, then they are usually “spent” within a few months to two years. Then, they are shipped to slaughterhouses in terrible conditions. Because of all the various ailments that they suffer, their meat can usually only be used for animal food.
What about “Cage-Free” Eggs?
You may be wondering about “free-range” and “cage-free” eggs. These labels are misleading and paint a much different picture than the reality. These hens are still kept in cramped facilities, without ever being outside. The typical hen house contains 100,000 egg-laying hens and even without cages, the hens still have little to no space for movement. Regulations surrounding egg labels that lead consumers to believe that they come from a humane facility are extremely lax. They still usually suffer greatly, experience cruelty such as debeaking, and live terrible, short lives.
What Can You Do
There over 300 million chickens exploited by the egg industry every year and the average person in the United States eats almost 300 eggs every year. These hens never get to feel the grass beneath their feet, feel the sun, or breathe fresh air. Instead, they live short lives filled with pain and suffering. The best way to fight back against this cruel industry is by eliminating eggs from your diet and encouraging others to do the same. Many people who care about animal welfare have no idea how cruel the egg industry truly is. To help end factory farming and its animal cruelty, share this information with those people so they too can understand why it is so important to adopt a vegan lifestyle.
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