Thursday, April 12, 2012

Is an egg for breakfast worth this?

The New York Times published an opinion piece today entitled: Is an egg for breakfast worth this? The piece brought back memories.

Years ago an egg farmer outside of London, Ontario was in trouble with the egg marketing board if memory serves me right. I wish I could say what the problem was but I can't. I recall so little I'd have a tough time finding the story even if I visited the public library. The London Free Press library could probably help me, if they still had a proper library at the paper, but they don't and so that option is closed.

What I do recall from my visit to the egg producing operation was the condition of the barn. It was hellish. Small cages, crammed with egg-laying hens standing on a coarse wire mesh, slanted so eggs would roll outside the cages for easy retrieval.

I'd been in filthy barns before, so the strong odour of the place did not come as a shock. What did surprise me was the condition of the hen's clawed feet. Forced to stand on a heavy gauge wire, their feet were calloused and misshapen. The farmer told me that sometimes the growths on the bottom of the chicken's feet would grow around the wires and he would have to take a sharp tool to cut the feet free.

When I told the editors what I saw, they told me this wasn't news; this was simply egg production.

I spent time on farms as a young boy. I knew that at one time this wasn't the way egg-laying hens were treated.

1 comment:

  1. I've been vegetarian for 21 years and I do still eat eggs, though only organic free-range ones fed on a veggie diet (not that easy to find!) I must admit that I do feel a strong compulsion to become mostly vegan quite frequently when I'm reminded of the horrors of the dairy industry and of egg farming but at this stage I'm just not there yet. I just wish more people would actually visit such places so they can see what they're contributing to.