The truth about eggs in under 4 minutes. Eggs are an everyday staple for people all around the world. Beyond their polished surfaces and convenient packaging lies the truth of their production. In the harsh light of reality, the everyday is revealed as extreme.
From breakfast to baked goods to countless cultural dishes, eggs couldn’t be more universally ordinary and unremarkable. But today is about challenging appearances and assumptions of extremism and normality. Today is a lesson in unlearning. [tweet this]
Anytime we make a living being into a machine, a supplier of inventory, the bottom line will always be profit. And increasing profit means increasing output and increasing efficiency.
The bodies of layer hens give out prematurely from the extreme demands of production. Every aspect of their lives is regulated ensure maximum output. From controlling their laying cycles with days and days of persistent light followed by long periods of complete darkness, to starving them for weeks at a time to force yet another egg cycle from their worn out bodies, to outright manipulation of their very genetic makeup.
We’ve optimized our machines, you see, and bred one kind of chicken for meat and another kind for eggs. Because of this, the egg industry produces millions if not a billion unwanted male baby chicks every year. Male layer chicks can’t lay eggs. So they are of no use.
To “dispose of”—as they say—these baby chicks, they are either painfully gassed, slowly suffocated in plastic bags, or they are ground up alive. We’re talking about the cute fluffy yellow baby chicks we adore come Easter time. They are not even granted three days of life.
This is standard practice all over the world.
The sisters of the egg industry’s discarded sons get to live out their short lives in cramped battery cages, unable to even extend their wings. Of course nowadays we hear about the rise of free-range and cage-free facilities. But in truth, the only comfort these labels bring is to our own conscience. Cage-free birds are crammed into tiny sheds and have twice the mortality rates of battery raised hens. [tweet this]
I hope you are starting to see the power of this lie. Of presenting cruel confinement, starvation, abuse, the barbaric murder of day-old babies and the slaughter of one-year-olds—themselves still children— as something completely normal and kind—packaged in perfect little orbs.
And we have the audacity to decorate them in celebration of new life. To fawn over the very chicks who were ground up alive for their production. To mix them into treats for our children and loved ones. To start our day with the products of abject misery and call it “sunny side up.” We might as well start our day by throwing chicks in a blender.
And people say veganism is extreme.
The animal products we perceive as mundane, when reverse engineered, reveal a perversely complex and, to put it lightly, ethically challenging, journey from genesis through processing and production to the end product. That is to say, from the animals’ birth, through confinement, abuse, slaughter and denigration of corpses to the shiny, happy, store-ready products we literally eat up without even a single thought as to what the animals went through.
In the harsh light of reality, the everyday becomes extreme.
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— Emily Moran Barwick