PLEASE BOYCOTT eggs at Easter. Use either a plastic or foam egg for your decorating and hiding PLEASE!!! Here's the reasons:
There are approximately 300 million egg laying hens in the U.S. confined in battery cages — small wire cages stacked in tiers and lined up in rows inside huge warehouses. In accordance with the USDA's recommendation to give each hen four inches of 'feeder space,' hens are commonly packed four to a cage measuring just 16 inches wide. In this tiny space, the birds cannot stretch their wings or legs, and they cannot fulfill normal behavioral patterns or social needs. Constantly rubbing against the wire cages, they suffer from severe feather loss, and their bodies are covered with bruises and abrasions.
In order to reduce injuries resulting from excessive pecking — an aberrant behavior that occurs when the confined hens are bored and frustrated — practically all laying hens have part of their beaks cut off. Debeaking is a painful procedure that involves cutting through bone, cartilage, and soft tissue.
Laying more than 250 eggs per year each, laying hens' bodies are severely taxed. They suffer from "fatty liver syndrome" when their liver cells, which work overtime to produce the fat and protein for egg yolks, accumulate extra fat. They also suffer from what the industry calls 'cage layer fatigue,' and many become 'egg bound' and die when their bodies are too weak to pass another egg.
Osteoporosis is another common ailment afflicting egg laying hens, whose bodies lose more calcium to form egg shells than they can assimilate from their diets. One industry journal, Feedstuffs, explains, "...the laying hen at peak eggshell cannot absorb enough calcium from her diet..." while another (Lancaster Farming) states, "... a hen will use a quantity of calcium for yearly egg production that is greater than her entire skeleton by 30-fold or more." Inadequate calcium contributes to broken bones, paralysis, and death.
After one year in egg production, the birds are classified as 'spent hens' and are sent off to slaughter. Their brittle, calcium-depleted bones often shatter during handling or at the slaughterhouse. They usually end up in soups, pot pies, or similar low-grade chicken meat products in which their bodies can be shredded to hide the bruises from consumers.
With a growing supply of broiler chickens keeping slaughterhouses busy, egg producers have had to find new ways to dispose of spent hens. One entrepreneur has developed the 'Jet-Pro' system to turn spent hens into animal feed. As described in Feedstuffs, "Company trucks would enter layer operations, pick up the birds, and grind them up, on site, in a portable grinder... it (the ground up hens) would go to Jet-Pro's new extruder-texturizer, the 'Pellet Pro.'"
In one notorious case of extraordinary cruelty at Ward Egg Ranch in February 2003 in San Diego County, California, more than 15,000 spent laying hens were tossed alive into a wood-chipping machine to dispose of them. Despite tremendous outcry from a horrified public, the district attorney declined to prosecute the owners of the egg farm, calling the use of a wood-chipper to kill hens a "common industry practice."
In some cases, especially if the cost of replacement hens is high, laying hens may be 'force molted' to extend their laying capacity. This process involves starving the hens for up to 18 days, keeping them in the dark, and denying them water to shock their bodies into another egg-laying cycle. Commonly, between 5 and 10% of birds die during the molt, and those who live may lose more than 25% of their body weight.
For every egg-laying hen confined in a battery cage, there is a male chick who was killed at the hatchery. Because egg-laying chicken breeds have been genetically selected exclusively for maximum egg production, they don't grow fast or large enough to be raised profitably for meat. Therefore, male chicks of egg-laying breeds are of no economic value, and they are literally discarded on the day they hatch — usually by the cheapest, most convenient means available. Thrown into trash cans by the thousands, male chicks suffocate or are crushed under the weight of others.
Another common method of disposing of unwanted male chicks is grinding them up alive. This can result in unspeakable horrors, as described by one research scientist who observed that "even after twenty seconds, there were only partly damaged animals with whole skulls". In other
words, fully conscious chicks were partially ground up and left to slowly and agonizingly die. Eyewitness accounts at commercial hatcheries indicate similar horrors of chicks being slowly dismembered by machinery blades en route to trash bins or manure spreaders.
The above conditions are what normally occurs as a day to day routine, but at Easter time, eggs are usually sold in triplicate! Please do not buy EXTRA EGGS at Easter, and use egg substitue on a daily basis.
Yes it is just plain awful! Even folks who won't eat the flesh of animals because they don't want to contribute to their misery, are unaware of the plights of commercial hens, and even cows and calves on most dairy farms.
I don't know which is worse, living in agony for up to 3 or 4 months and then being slaughtered, or living in agony for up to 2 years, and then being slaughtered. Well, I guess I do know which one is worse actually
Love & Light
As we do have a 5-year-old human, hunting eggs is expected. However, the only ones I have ever used are the plastic (candy filled) ones anyway.
I personally have never liked eggs, and as I am probably one of the world's pickiest eaters, I don't cook with them either. My husband eats them once in a while, but as I have been aware of the appalling egg industry for some time, there is a local woman with HAPPY chickens (I have watched them myself) whom I can buy from when needed.
The only reason we don't have our own fowl (as I did in my youth), is due to the high number of carnivores living here (15 cats, 6 dogs). Maybe when we move this year, I will have a better chance for a safe location for a happy flock.
For that matter, I am proud to be one of the original members of a local group that has grown tremendously in the 5 years that I have been with it.
Mercy For Animals has been continuously and fervently working toward eliminating the horrendous factory egg farms in Ohio, including rescuing chickens in the night. Please visit their web site for details. http://www.mercyforanimals.org/
Excellent Susan!!! I will definitely check out the site!!!
The dogs also participate in the hunting and will eat the candy out of them if they find them first! We would never find real eggs, even if we wanted to use them, as they would gulp them all down! It's funny when we get down to the last few hidden eggs that no one - not even the person who hid them - can find. Then, a little while later, sometimes a whole lot later - even months sometimes! - we find what is left of a plastic egg, and some furry family member has very sweet-smelling breath! LOL! This is a much happier way to spend Easter than using the "products" of a poor, tortured battery hen, with her toes clipped, her beak cut off, her feathers falling out, her feet hurting from standing on thin wire cage floors, covered in the waste of those above her, spending her life cranking out eggs every 22 hours, only to end up roughly shackled, throat slit (if she is lucky and isn't scalded alive, or worse - I read of a new device the other day that just comes out to the egg farm whereby they simply drop the "spent" hens in it and they are ground up into feed for others!), and a bunch of little bits in someone's chicken soup or a pot pie. Using eggs from one of those poor hens isn't really celebrating the hope and rebirth the holiday is supposed to be about, now is it?????
Thanks for posting this, Billye. Poeple need to be reminded now and then what it is they are supporting when they go to the store and buy eggs and dairy. Raising your own chickens or buying some eggs from someone you know well that treats their chickens properly and lovingly and doesn't throw them in the pot when they are not "productive" anymore is one thing, but supporting government-approved factory farming of battery chicken eggs is another. It's abusive and certainly not in the spirit of the holiday of Easter.
And, before anyone asks about free-range. Let me just get that out there, too. They are really no better off, and sometimes even worse. As nice as it may be for them to at least be able to walk around and flap their wings, they are also down in amongst the waste of all those thousands of other birds. They don't get to go outside in the grass, as you may think. The regulations only require "some access" to the outdoors, and it doesn't even have to be available all the time. It isn't in the winter, for instance, and most hens never even find that tiny door leading out into a tiny gravel yard. COK and others have investigated this situation thoroughly, and I have personally talked with those that have seen these operations all over the country. Ammonia burns are common, and they are still mutilated and end up as soup. Not to mention the murder of the male baby chicks, who aren't "useful" to the industry, and who are thrown away, literally.
No, if you want to use eggs for Easter and really don't want to use plastic ones, wanting the "real" thing, better find a neighbor or something and go check it out for yourself. Otherwise, how do you know what you are supporting?
Let Easter be a time of hope for everyone, regardless of species. And, let's all pledge to take a moment that morning to stop and pause for a moment in silence to acknowledge all of the suffering that is bound up in this holiday of hope and rebirth on Easter morning. Let's give these poor laboring hens just a moment of our time and reflect on what Easter means to them.
Thanks everyone for being the caring people you are. Try to help educate as many people as you can and prevent others from using anything but plastic eggs this year. Even if you can't get them to make the switch and go veg, maybe you can convince them not to celebrate this holiday with anything less than a real symbol of hope and rebirth, instead of one of doom, suffering, and death.
Thanks again, Billye. Everyone have a happy Easter this year!
I didn't know you're doggies joined in the Easter plastic egg hunt! That's a riot!
I checked out the website and it is most definitely a very informative website, I bookmarked it and plan to refer to it quite often. Thanks so much for letting us know about it. Here's a few thing I got from the site:
Farm Fresh Eggs?
This bird is suffering from a sinus infection. With no access to veterinary care, her condition will just get worse.
I was very surprised to see how many hens had eye infections such as this:
Here's another eye infection, and you can also plainly see how the beak is cut off of this bird:
This hen is slowly dying while her cagemates look on
Hens thrown in the dumpster:
Yes, this one was alive!
Billye: Good timing - I was just sending an e-mail to the founder of the group, and a friend of mine, Nathan Runkle. I copied your message on it as well and encouraged him to start a Mercy For Animals Group in Care2.
I'm sorry that the world is such a place that birds, or anyone, would have to suffer as those are/did. But thanks to people like Nathan, you, and others, hopefully the suffering will end sooner than later.
You saw me mention Mercy For Animals previously. Well, I just received this e-mail today and was so proud of them that I wanted to share it with you all:
Egg Farm Investigation Exposes "Animal Care Certified" Label Scam
In a recent undercover investigation, Ohio-based animal rights group Mercy for Animals (MFA) turned up hideous abuse and neglect of laying hens at Ohio Fresh Eggs-Ohio's largest egg farm operating under the "Animal Care Certified" (ACC) label. MFA found hens with severe infections in their eyes and sinuses, live birds in trash containers and "dead piles" along with corpses of other birds, and hens with their legs, wings, and other body parts caught in their cages, unable to reach food and water and slowly dehydrating or starving to death. Watch the video to see the cruelty for yourself.
The ACC logo, which is found on more than 80 percent of all egg cartons in grocery stores, allows for birds to be crammed into cages so small that they can't even spread their wings and starved for up to two weeks at a time to shock their bodies into another laying cycle. It also allows egg farms to cut the beaks off baby chickens without any painkillers. A recent Zogby poll showed that 70 percent of consumers believe the ACC label to be misleading once they learn how the animals are actually treated, and the Council of Better Business Bureaus has condemned the logo and referred it to the Federal Trade Commission for possible legal action.
We need your help! Please write to the Ohio-based Kroger Co., one of the nation's leading grocery chains, and ask that it remove the ACC logo from its egg cartons until animal welfare standards in the egg industry improve:
David Dillon, Chair and CEO
The Kroger Co.
1014 Vine St.
Cincinnati, OH 45202
Thanks for everything that you do to help animals.
Senior Campaign Coordinator
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals
These pictures are certainly distressing, but we need to know what's going on. Thank you, Billye, for posting this. Sometimes I 'bury my head in the sand', but I'm going to try harder to face up to things ~ it's the only way there will ever be any changes made.
Situations like this make me want to cry, because a few years ago I had some pet hens and they are the most delightful creatures you could ever have for a pet.
Whoops! I didn't know you had already been to the thread when I suggested it earlier
Did you see my sweet chickens in my photo album? They're my babies alright, my precious babies And yes, I agree that chickens are very personable, and if the public knew mare about them, they definitely wouldn't be eating them, I feel sure of that.
I have chickens that get jealous when I pet other chickens, and they will even jump on my back if I continue to pet another chicken longer that they think I should.
They wipe their beak on me,lol, which appears to be a sign of affection. I also have two very sweet turkeys. I have another chicken that will run in the house if I open the door, just like a puppy dog trying to get in. And another one who LOVES to ride in the car! If I go towards that car, she will follow me and try her best to get in before I shut the door. So whenever anybody goes off, one of us has to go out there and keep the babies out of the way.
And so that the new members could see what has been written about this. Aslo to update you all. I wrote a post on my blog this morning, which included a link to Billlye's editorial, one to this thread, one to a personal friend's blog post, and one the the PETA2 Easter e-card. Hopefully with this many people talking, we can cut down on the number of eggs used this year from abused battery hens.
Also, I thought a small reminder was in order for all of us to take a moment on this day to stop what we are doing, have at least a moment of silence and to reflect on the misery that millions of hens are living in right this very minute so that people can buy and dye their eggs. It's the least we can do for them...
Thank Gawd. That is just sick.