I often watch people at the egg section at the supermarket, about 1 in 10 people stop and take their time to think about their egg choice. The other people, well, they automatically reach for the cheapest eggs and open the lid to check them. In that one selfish action, they are condemning 11 million hens in this country to an absolute life in hell. The life these chickens experience is a tiny cage. A tiny cage next to another tiny cage which has rows and rows of tiny cages on top of it and rows and rows of tiny cages below it. These cages are all filled with between 4-6 chickens. These chickens cannot move much at all. They spend their lives standing on wire. They spend their lives standing in the one spot in a cage. Can you imagine that? Can you imagine that that is your life? We do it to them just so we can eat their eggs.
Eggs have become such a staple food in our diet, that it is barely thought about by the average joe, but eggs come from hens and hens that are used and abused by humans in the most disgusting ways. A battery egg farm consists of shed apon shed filled with small cages layered on top of each other. Just one farm can trap up to 150,000 hens. Chickens are naturally happy animals, whose joys are directly connected to the earth. Chickens love to scratch and forage in the earth, they need to bathe in dirt to get clean, they sunbake in delight in the sun and hens make nests in private areas to lay their eggs. In a battery egg farm, they experience none of this. They are put into the cages and left there for 18 months until they no longer produce eggs and then they are ripped out of those cages. slaughtered and replaced with younger hens.
The image above depicts a situation which is all too common in battery egg farms. The chicken on the left is dead. The chicken on the right is still alive…barely. Along the rows and rows of aisles with the rows and rows of cages, there are many dead hens to be seen. They are dead in the cages being stood on by other hens. They are dead on the ground, this happens when they fall out of/ or escape their cage somehow and fall to their deaths. The chicken on the right of this imaage was rescued. I held her on my lap the whole way home and could barely feel her breath. She had been crushed under that chicken and had been without food and water for many days. I named her Phoenix in hope that she would rise from the ashes of her horrific past. After two weeks of getting better and being able to walk on grass and feel the sun on her back, Phoenix passed away. The batteries cages rob these birds of everything. They rob them of life.
After reading all this and looking at these images, you are probably saying to yourself “But I buy free range, I’m not part of this problem” Eggs labelled free range can be misleading. Various “free range” eggs are actually cage eggs. Research is incredibly important if you must buy eggs. You also have to remember that free range isn’t inherently a kind choice. For every hen in the free range system, there was a male chick who was tossed aside like rubbish because they are no use to the egg industry. These baby male chicks are either gassed or ground up alive in their millions. All free range hens used for egg production are sent to slaughter at 18 months old. In the end, you need to remember that your choice is condemning millions of gentle, sweet birds to a life of hell. Is your conscience and your heart big enough to care? If you can’t afford the kindest eggs possible, GO WITHOUT, it’s not that difficult. Use your heart over your head (and stomach).
The following slideshow is the beginning of my series “The Price Of Eggs” and is a work in progress. It includes images of cage egg farms AND free range egg farms.
Please don’t use my images without permission. All images are Copyright Tamara Kenneally