Wednesday, February 2, 2011

On the topic of EGGS

"A new Mercy For Animals undercover investigation reveals shocking abuse at New Englands largest egg factory farm - Quality Egg of New England (QENE) in Turner, Maine. The hidden camera video shot in early 2009 gives a startling glimpse behind the closed doors of one of the nations leading egg producers, exposing the rotten truth behind battery cage egg production heinous cruelty to animals. 

The findings of MFA's newest investigation are similar to those documented at numerous egg farms across the country in recent years - illustrating that animal neglect and abuse are the egg industry standard, not the exception. 
Thankfully, consumers hold enormous power in ending the exploitation of egg-laying hens. Every time we sit down to eat we can choose kindness over cruelty by adopting a vegan diet."

"These eggs are so-called "Barn fresh eggs"

I visited a *small* facility - where "only" about 1,000,000 eggs are laid per week
They pay 50p per bird to get them at 1 day old
After 18 weeks they start to lay, and at 72 weeks killed
They are tranported live to Norfolk last day of life for slaughter
They are so skraggy and skinny at the end of their life that that they can only be used where the poor quality of the meat can be "disguised" - so they end up in things like Chicken soup, sausages, pet food, etc
Hens would normally live for 7-8 years
Each hen lays around 6 eggs a week per hen - in a nature, though, you would be lucky to get more than dozen eggs a year
but years of selective breeding has created these "super layers"
what a MISERABLE existence these poor hens have...
Location: Rimswell, East Yorkshire"

Those 2 videos are truly appalling. I completely support vegetarians and vegans (although, I myself am still an omnivore) and respect their cause. The animal cruelty that goes on in the country to provide us with the excessive amount of meat we consume is horrible. Animals live in horrendous conditions that are not only horrendous for their physical well-being and mental sanity, but also makes the unsafe for human consumption. Many factory farms have been found to have animals (cows, pigs, chickens, hens,etc.) literally living in their own feces, so close to one another that transmission of disease is inevitable. To counteract this, companies give animals large doses of antibiotics, which in turn end up in our food creating more bacterial resistance to these drugs consequently superbugs. 

There are many more issues than just that in the food system, including how unsustainable it is - and that is the topic covered in Omnivore's Dilemma (which I will soon write a review of). 

I have personally decided that I will continue to be an omnivore because I believe that humans have evolved to eat meat, but do my best to only eat animals and animal products that have been treated humanely and raised in a friendly environment. 

Vegetarians continue to eat eggs and other animal products often without knowing about the intense cruelty that goes on in the majority of production. I believe that it is worse to eat eggs from one of the factories shown above than to eat beef or chicken or pork from small, local, sustainable farms where they are able to live outside. It is hard to watch the videos above, but I believe that if you are going to fight for animal rights and even be a vegetarian, then you must know the facts. 

Here is a great article about the unsustainable food system in America that appeared in today's New York Times online blog - Opinionator - A Food Manifesto for the Future.

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