Today is World Egg Day, and I want to make a plea to my fellow vegan activists and advocates:
From this day forward, please make backyard eggs a part of your vegan activism.
It’s easy to get caught up in the atrocities of industrial egg farming. The images of hens packed into battery cages or crammed by the tens of thousands into so-called “free-range” sheds are grotesque and horrifying. And so blatantly wrong.
But the bucolic imagery and idyllic narratives of backyard egg farming mask untold horrors in their own right. I’ve seen, hundreds of times over, what happens to hens and roosters on these farms…how their bodies break down and are left unprotected from weather, predators, abuse, neglect…
Please: educate yourself about the impacts of domestication and selective breeding on chickens—how hens are forced to lay eggs even as their bodies break down because of it, and how roosters are killed because they don’t lay eggs at all. Learn about hatcheries and shipping chicks, about “spent” hens and dumped roosters, about “freezer camp” and “fry pan chicks,” about cancer and reproductive disorders and osteoporosis…
The problems of exploitation are not absent from backyard eggs—they just have a better packaging.
Their eggs, the hens’ eggs, are no more “gifts” for us in a backyard than they are in a battery cage. To see them that way is self-aggrandizing nonsense. Even though humans have forced hens to lay like they do, the eggs still belong to the hens, and always will.
Please: let us make backyard chickens and eggs an integral part of our vegan activism. Let us see it as a crucial component of responsible, anti-speciesist advocacy to talk about backyards as much and as fervently as we do battery cages.
Perpetuating or excusing “humane” animal farming does no good for animals in the end, and drawing arbitrary distinctions between models and scales of farming only keeps animals on our plates.
Celebrate World Egg Day by giving up eggs, or if you’re already vegan, by expanding your commitment to the animals by always including backyard chickens in your activism. ❤️
For more info and resources:
Chicken Run Rescue
Triangle Chicken Advocates
(Photo credit: thanks to @writing_liberation for the post on World Egg Day: https://www.instagram.com/p/CGGeDMuJT8c/?igshid=o1cvrwzfqpiu.)