>My Egg Dilemma
My first Veguary post regards the poultry industry, more specifically eggs. Eggs are an off and on dilemma for me, and i went years without eating them, but started again a few years ago.
I have yet to tell my vegetarianism story, so the short version is that i’ve been a vegetarian of varying degrees since i was in 6th grade, so i think about 1992. That’s almost 20 years already. Strangely enough, that’s also the year i decided to stop my religious education and declared myself an atheist (which is, of course, a topic for another time), but twenty years later i stand by both decisions, and neither are a “choice” anymore, but rather just who i am, my lifestyle. Whereas eating the flesh of an animal goes against my beliefs and choices, in a perfect world, dairy (in minimal amounts) and eggs seem “ok” in my moral barometer. (And i know that this differs from person to person, and that is why there are SO many types of vegetarianism). The issue is, in my perfect world, the milk and eggs would be collected in the pasture by a woman wearing a bonnet, and carried back to the farmstand in a wicker basket with a gingham napkin lining it, where i’d purchase it and wave to the friendly cows and chickens who made them for me. And sadly, the truth couldn’t possibly be more opposite. And that’s where my moral dilemma lies.
This is not a cruelty-free blog and i do not subscribe to the PETA newsletter. I’m not here to preach, and i respect everyone’s right to make educated decisions… but “educated” is the part i’m not sure everyone is. I believe if more people knew where their grocery store eggs came from, they would be outraged.
What’s the problem with eggs?
It’s not my intention to shock and disgust people with graphic descriptions and images of egg “factories”. They’re out there, but you’re not going to find it here. Below are some sources where you can read about the inhumane treatment of laying hens. But did you know that each hen is allotted a space smaller than a standard sheet of paper? That doesnt even allow them to turn around, let alone spread their wings. Did you know that female baby chicks (that will become laying hens) have their beaks cut/burned off so they cant fight in the enclosed spaces? And do you know what happens to all the male chicks (about 50% of the ones born)? What do you think happens to sick/injured, or even deceased laying hens? I imagine that some people have never thought about this, and i invite you to not only ask yourself, but to research the answer.
And then there is the “cage-free”, “free range”, “organic”, “vegetarian” labeled eggs. If you look at my photo (discreetly snapped with my camera phone in my local, small town grocery store), you’ll see that even my tiny grocery store offers a variety of these. And i know that i’ve been guilty of buying these and believing the labels. When i hear “cage free” or “free range”, i picture a flock of hens inside a fence, next to a cheerful red barn, with pastures behind. Maybe i’m silly, maybe i just play too much Farmville, but these labels bring images to mind. The truth is, that there is very little regulating what these labels are allowed to say or imply. A factory with room for 1,000 hens with 2,000 crammed inside can still count as cage-free. But the hens dont have more space or more favorable conditions. These lables are purposefully misleading, and i ask you to research them, and ask yourself if it’s OK that the industry is trying to “trick” you.
An obvious solution = buy local. Of course. But we dont all always have the option as readily available to us. Working moms sometimes grab groceries on the way home. Not everyone lives near working farms, farmstands, etc. Do i think i could find “morally ok” eggs near me? Probably. But have i made the effort yet, no. Because i’m busy being a mom, a wife, and working. And so every time i buy a dozen eggs at the grocery store, i’m racked with guilt, and my dilemma comes to light: when will i stop buying factory produced eggs?
So my first pledge for Veguary is to research and find a local place to buy cruelty-free eggs. And i ask you to educate yourself on the egg industry, so you can make an informed decision next time you purchase eggs.
I’d love to hear YOUR thoughts on eggs…