Anyone that thinks the 285 million caged hens in America are experiencing anything less than torture is fooling themselves. After learning about the cruelty and destruction caused by the egg industry, many people think that free-range, cage-free, or organic are the solution to the problem, but free-range isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
Each of these terms – free-range, cage-free, and organic – invokes a positive image of sunshine, grass, and open spaces, but this is far from reality.
“The waiter said, ‘All of our chicken is free-range.’ And I said, ‘He doesn’t look very free there on that plate.’” – Joe Bob Briggs
The official regulation for “free-range” is that the birds have “access to the outdoors.” So, often times, there is only a single, small door in the shed (packed with thousands of hens), which leads to a concrete patch or manure field, in some cases it is only opened for about 5 minutes per day, and only a few number of hens even realize that the door exists. These chickens and eggs earn the free-range label. There are absolutely no regulations on the amount of space per bird, the environmental conditions (concrete vs. grass), or the amount of time spent outdoors (if any).
“The U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) requires that chickens raised for their meat have access to the outside in order to receive the free-range certification. There is no requirement for access to pasture, and there may be access to only dirt or gravel . Free-range chicken eggs, however, have no legal definition in the United States. Likewise, free-range egg producers have no common standard on what the term means.” -Wikipedia
The difference between free-range and cage-free is simply a door. Cage-free hens are not confined to wire cages, but there is no door leading to the outdoors in their hen-houses. They are over-crowded into dark sheds filled with toxic fumes (from waste) and rampant disease.
Organic does not indicate a lack of cages. It only means that the hens are not fed antibiotics or hormones, and they eat organic corn. Organic eggs can come from battery caged hens.
Free-range, cage-free, and organic hens are typically de-beaked just as battery cage hens. And although chickens live for 7-15 years, free-range, cage-free, and organic hens are brutally slaughtered at age 1-2.
Male chicks, under any label (free-range, cage-free, organic), are considered useless and are immediately killed by either suffocation, electrocution, gassing, or are ground up alive. No federal laws protect chickens from abuse under any label.
You can show compassion by avoiding eggs.
Breakfast: Two bananas
Lunch: Veggie sub from Harris Teeter (another one of my usuals) – lettuce, tomato, olives, banana peppers, jalapeno peppers, pickles, vinegar and oil, oregano, on a whole wheat sub
Dinner: Nachos with black beans and Daiya vegan cheese