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Go Vegan or Eat Lice-covered Eggs?

Updated on September 2, 2009

Could you throw a live chick into a meat grinder?

Egg Farm Undercover

A California Egg Farm

Factory vs. smaller farm

What will you do?

How does watching these videos affect your eating habits?

See results

Isn't there a better option?

I'm not a vegan. Figured I'd get that out of the way first. Actually, I don't care much for too many types of veggies. Ever since I was a child, there were only a few "green" foods I'd eat: little trees (broccoli), shelled peas, green beans and a short list of others, mostly raw. I preferred more fruit than vegetables. My daughter (whose palette is more limited than mine was) is my mother's revenge for my finicky food choices. I do enjoy eating various types of meat, fish, chicken and, yes, eggs. Still, it doesn't take a genius--or a vegetarian or vegan, for that matter--to realize how the egg/hen farmers treat their chickens and chicks is immoral and cruel.

I like animals, but I'm not a fanatic. You'll notice I have a photo of one of my son's pet rats, but by no means am I out protesting, writing letters to my congresswoman or the like. I'm not as active as my sister (she treats animals much better than people) about protecting animal rights, but watching these and other animal conditions should make anyone want to do something to prevent the inhumane treatment of these animals.

Tossing live baby chicks into a meat grinder is insane. Burning off their beak because they become more aggressive in crowded conditions is cruel. Ignoring open, bleeding wounds is disgusting. Leaving them to die and rot in overcrowded cages whilst their fellow hens lay the eggs you eat in the same cage is just sick; eggs covered in lice as result of the poor conditions at least should be fined enough to encourage positive change represented by better conditions; more humane conditions.

I remember driving on the highway one very cold morning and in front of me was a truck loaded with hundreds of exposed chicken cages. The chickens didn't look too happy that frosty morning and feathers were flying everywhere as the truck barrelled down the highway. I figured the chickens had it bad that morning, but I never knew how truly bad they had it on their farm/factory.

What's an "acceptable" standard?

The giant poultry associations say they don't have a need for the male chickens; the males don't grow large enough to cook and clearly, they don't lay eggs. The poultry associations say this method of killing millions of male chicks every year is the "acceptable standard" in the industry. Saying this cruel torture and massacre of living things is an acceptable standard is just a matter of semantics to make these associations feel better about their despicable treatment of animals who experience pain.

Keep in mind, at one time it was an acceptable standard to purchase people as slaves; it was acceptable to promote bigotry or antisemitic practices against any person considered less than human because of their ethnicity, color, religion. It was acceptable for American women and African Americans not to have a vote. All these things were "acceptable."

Am I going to stop eating eggs? I hate to say it, but probably not. Still, I might be more careful about where I buy my eggs. Certainly not from a factory source and surely not from the farm that says it's certified organic, but only allows their animals to walk around in the dirt for a mere five minutes as regulated as "acceptable." Maybe I'll start buying them from the small farm down the road where I've seen the condition of their chicken coops because my daughter ran over to see the chickens and we were invited in for a look.

Give up meat? Chicken?

The people who made the first two undercover videos end them by asking you to give up your eggs and become a vegan. The third video doesn't ask you to give up your meat and eggs, just choose the source of your food more wisely. I'm not asking you to do something I don't want to do myself. Regardless, you don't have to be a vegan, vegetarian or whatever label you choose in order to realize what these chicken farmers are doing is wrong.

After all, with all the companies currently striving to "go green" as more people demand changes to "acceptable standards," perhaps it's time for these farmers to realized this type of ill treatment is unacceptable.

What's so sad about these videos is that they are far from being the only ones. Go to youtube and you'll find too many videos of animal cruelty to creatures large and small. It's not just about mice in a testing lab; it's about sick cattle pushed around by tractors, breeding farms that cram animals into filthy, tight conditions. There are too many animal cruelty issues to mention here.

I hate our cat, but she has a much better life than these farm animals

I simply can't believe people think there's nothing wrong with hurting living creatures. I may hate my husband's old fat cat who screams all night long, but I'm not going to hurt her. I may argue with her (yes, we yell at each other) and I can get so angry at night when she screams that I'd really like to throw the little bitch down the stairs, but that would be a crappy thing to do to a small animal. More significantly, I would be a really shitty role model to my kids if I did this.

I truly didn't want this to sound like a lecture and if you haven't read up to this point, you likely believe it was a liberal rant and left this page opting for funny animal videos instead of the serious shit. If you're still reading, then perhaps you can help in this discussion. What should be done about these farm practices? Will you stop eating eggs? Chicken? Will you go Vegan? Let me know what you think.


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    • cameciob profile image

      cameciob 7 years ago

      Oh, Joelle, these videos almost made me cry. i wish i were a vegan or at least a vegetarian. I don't think i'll have the same detached attitude when it will come to eating chicken and eggs.

    • profile image

      mom 8 years ago

      It looks like I may end up Vegan. I eat very little meat,only wild salmon and now it looks like I shouldn't eat chicken or eggs. I'm running out of food to eat.This would make a very good magazine article. It gets you thinking about what goes into your stomach

    • Joelle Burnette profile image

      Joelle Burnette 8 years ago

      Here's a comment a friend made on Facebook:

      Joelle, that was great! By the way, my vegetarian diet is easy and delicious. It doesn't feel like a sacrifice at all because I eat so much better than everyone else. It helps that I like to cook. But I just ask people to consider going veg one day a week. That would significantly decrease animal cruelty and suffering.

      Your blog was very compassionate, fair and well written. Thanks for spreading the word.

      So, my friend's idea is a good one. I responded:

      Going veg one day a week. Hmm. That sounds like a good start and a realistic goal I may be able to achieve. I'll give it a go.

      Now, as a person who doesn't care to cook, I need to find some easy recipes that taste good enough for the kids to eat.