There is a question that needs to be posed: does everyone have a right to life? If so, do they have a right to a humane way of life, or doesn’t it matter if someone endures massive suffering to satisfy the craving that one’s tongue demands?
In the United States, more than 300 million laying hens produce eggs. The majority of these hens live in small, wire cages affectionately referred to in the industry as “battery cages”.
The “battery” hen’s life starts in a commercial hatchery where thousands of chicks are “hatched” in industrial incubators. Since the male offers no dollar value to the egg producer, they are killed right after birth. This “procedure” is usually done by gassing, suffocation, or being crushed by machines or the boots of the workers, should they fall off the conveyor belt of death.
The females, the profit makers, have parts of their beaks burned off with a hot blade without any pain killers being administered. Does anyone care that the chickens have pain receptors in their beaks and experience intense pain from the procedure? Of course not! These are food animals, not pets.
The baby chick hotel room is a wire cage which normally houses three to ten hens. The typical U.S. egg concentration camp contains thousands of these cages that provide these chicks, that will turn into hens, with a space just a bit larger than half a sheet of letter-sized typing paper.
Hens need 72 square inches to stand upright, 178 square inches to preen (all chicks like to look pretty), 197 square inches to turn around, and 291 square inches to flap their wings. But, they aren’t creatures of nature, they are dollar bills. Who cares?
The battery cages contribute to many health problems: uteruses being pushed outside of their bodies, foot problems due to the slanted wire floors of the cages, osteoporosis, due to the fact that they get no exercise and that a large amount of calcium goes into egg production, and fatty livers. Pate’ anyone?
Chicken’s shed their feathers. It’s called “molting”. To help these dollar bills in their normal cycle of life, they are false molted at the end of their laying cycles or purposely starved for 10 to 14 days to induce another laying cycle.
This forced molting doubles their mortality and creates great suffering. After the second laying cycle the “product” is taken to slaughter plants where they are shackled by their legs and hung upside-down on a long conveyor belt with their broken legs and bones.
Now comes the mercy. These hens are then submerged into an electrified water bath, which is supposed to make them unconscious. Whether or not this happens is irrelevant and their throats are slit whether conscious or unconscious. You see, birds are not protected by the federal Humane Methods Of Slaughter Act and as such are not “required” to be unconscious before being killed.
If anti-cruelty laws applied to farmed animals, this treatment would be illegal. But since profits take precedence over welfare, kindness, and people having a heart, no one cares.
So, the next time you eat an egg or a piece of chicken you need to look into your heart and your consciousness and realize that you are a part of all of this. If that does not bother you, so be it. If it does, even slightly, then there is hope for you and the fact that someday you may actually have a soft heart and you will be conscious of how your “food” got to you.