Eggs are one of the most consumed foods in the world. In The United Kingdom, it’s estimated that over 30 million eggs are consumed every day. People have eggs for breakfast, for lunch, for dinner and in their desserts. Eggs can be found in a variety of foods such as packaged foods, baked foods, pasta’s, pastries, sauces, cereals and spreads. Because of this, People often consume egg products even if they didn’t make a conscious decision to do so. But what do egg consumers really know about eggs? What the egg industry is hiding is absolutely horrifying.
The egg industry spends billions of pounds every year to promote eggs and to convince people that they are an essential part of a balanced diet, when in reality, eggs are extremely unhealthy.Eggs are high in saturated fat and dietary cholesterol which increases the risk of developing heart disease and diabetes. In just one egg, there’s around 166 mg of cholesterol. The USDA has deemed it illegal for egg producers to label their food as “nutritious” or “safe. Unlike humans, chickens only have one exit hole called a cloaca. Meaning that they urinate, dedicate, release fluids and lay eggs, all from the same hole. Because of this, eggs are often contaminated with feces and other harmful bacteria’s such as salmonella.
Just like the meat and dairy industry, the egg industry’s goal is to make profit. Chickens are treated as commodities, not living, sensitive beings. Chickens are one of the most exploited animals on earth. People often wrongly believe that egg production isn’t cruel when in fact, the egg industry is just as cruel as the meat and dairy industry. Every year, egg farms breed millions of birds to ensure that there is a constant supply of hens to lay eggs. To keep up with consumer demands, chickens are forced to live inside large, overcrowded sheds, Often crammed with thousands of other birds with barely enough space to move or spread their wings.
Due to this, birds are forced to defecate and urinate on one another.The birds are then forced to inhale ammonia which leads to serious health issues, including respiratory illnesses and infections. Globally, approximately 90% of eggs are produced by caged hens. It is also estimated that around 51 percent of the eggs sold in the UK come from caged hens. These cages are known as ‘enriched’ or ‘colony’ cages in the UK or battery cages in the US. Because chickens are forced to live in horrendous, filthy conditions they are often fed large quantities of antibiotics to ensure that they survive. However, many bird’s still die in their cages.
To keep up with the global demand for eggs, chickens have been genetically altered so that they can produce more eggs. In the wild, a chicken would normally only lay between 10-20 eggs per year, now chickens lay around 200-300 per year. By disrupting the natural process of a hen nesting her egg, her body responds by producing more eggs. It is also common practice to starve hens in order to shock their bodies into a rapid egg laying cycle. This process is referred to as forced molting which results in many birds dying from starvation. The process of producing and laying and laying an egg is physically exhausting and intense process. It takes around 34 hours to produce just one egg. This puts a massive strain on their bodies and leaves them depleted of vital nutrients. Most people are unaware that hens will eat their own unfertilized eggs in order to regain vital nutrients that were lost during egg production.
Most Chicks across the world are born in large incubators and never get the chance to meet their mothers. When they are about a day old, the males and females are separated. Because the male chicks don’t produce eggs they are considered useless by-products. Millions of male chicks are tossed into grinders and are ground up alive or thrown into dumpsters where they’ll starve and suffocate to death. When female chicks are a few days old, the ends of their beaks are cut off using a hot blade or an infrared laser which is almost always done without any anesthesia. The female chicks will then face the same horrific fate as their mothers.
Although chickens can live for over 10 years, egg laying hens are usually slaughtered for food after just 2 miserable years of life when their reproductive system is no longer generating enough profit. They may be gassed, electrocuted or have their throats slit and their flesh will then be sold as “low-grade” meat. Over 40 million egg laying hens are slaughtered each year in the UK alone. Many birds often die on their journey to the slaughterhouse due to rough handling or heart failure.
Egg production is not only affecting the lives of billions of chickens across the world, it is also having an extremely devastating impact on the environment. Chickens farms produce millions of pounds of waste which ends up in local waterways, water supplies and eventually in our oceans.Because chickens are often fed antibiotics, the drugs can then be found in their feces, which also contaminates local water. Chicken farms also release toxic greenhouse gasses and ammonia into the atmosphere. We are destroying our planet at a phenomenal rate by consuming animal products, even though it is entirely unnecessary and avoidable.
You may be thinking, what about free-range eggs?Free-range and organic farms often still force thousands of chickens to live in crammed, unnatural conditions. As well as only being allowed very limited access to outside space. Labels such as ‘free range’ and ‘cage free’ enable consumers to feel less guilty about exploiting and harming animals. Also, when you purchase products that contain eggs you have no idea what kind of farm those eggs came from. By purchasing eggs, you are supporting the enslavement, exploitation and death of innocent beings. It doesn’t matter if you buy eggs laid from backyard chickens or factory farmed chickens.The hens are still being forced to produce an unnatural amount of eggs, they are not free. You are still exploiting the reproductive system of an innocent being.
Fortunately, there is no need to consume eggs. You can get protein and vital nutrients from healthy plant foods such as nuts, seeds, legumes and vegetables.There are also many egg replacers and egg-free alternatives available so there really is no need to continue supporting this cruel, harmful industry.