I love eggs. Chicken eggs, specifically. Sunny side up, scrambled, soft-boiled or poached, these high protein, low fat, perfectly-packaged ovals of bliss are the epitome of the typical American breakfast. What a culinary miracle they are! Without eggs and their amazing properties of stabilization and emulsification, there would be no chocolate chip cookies, no birthday cake, no ice cream, no hollandaise sauce, no chewy macaroons, no fruit-filled pavlova, no souffles, no lemon meringue pie,no crepes, custards or cream puffs! Our diet would be pretty sad without these perky little delicacies.
Imagine a summer picnic without deviled eggs or ice cream? Thanksgiving without pumpkin pie? Easter without the joyous hunt of these rainbow-hued reminders of the advent of Spring?
Sadly, the shameful disturbing and dangerous manner in which these treasures come into being belies their snow-white, speckled, or cocoa-brown perfection.The hard-boiled truth is that our Big Corporate Farms treat breeding hens worse than Cheney treats Muslim detainees. The recent salmonella outbreak in eggs has the industry scrambling to explain the mass contamination. But the question shouldn't be how did this outbreak occur, but instead how is it that it didn't happen sooner?
According to this watchdog group, the
vast majority of hens bred in American's rotten egg farms are squeezed into battery cages so
tight they cannot flap their wings, nest, perch, bathe, or perform any natural
behavior other than egg production. Their excrement piles up on the floor
inches below their feet. While still chicks, their beaks are blunted on a metal
wheel, or chopped off entirely to prevent them from pecking each other to pieces
out of panic and frustration. Some chicks are kept for breeding, and often unwanted male chicks are ground up alive. (Just when you
thought there was nothing more disturbing than watching perky Sarah Palin
give a presser while a live turkey was shoved head first into a
tunnel-shaped decapitating machine.)
Life for a factory hen is not what it's cracked up to be. She can barely move and this lack of exercise leads to weakened bones. As a result, she's forced to suffer through multiple bone breaks and untreated wounds. She's fed massive doses of antibiotics to keep most of the diseases that are a natural result of the birds' hideous living conditions at bay. It's a guarded secret how much of this antibiotic is transmitted to her eggs, and to our western omelets, not to mention all the goodies I mentioned above.
Think about it: between the hormones and antibiotics fed our
farm-raised beef cattle, pigs, dairy cows, and farmed fish, it's no wonder the
age of puberty keeps decreasing while antibiotic-resistant disease is
increasing. The endocrine systems of our developing children are being altered,
and our immune systems compromised strictly for the sake of . . . corporate
profit. But I digress. Back to the chickens.
Every other Western nation has long abandoned the torturous cruelty of battery cages for farm hens in favor of more humane husbandry methods. And those eggs are actually cheaper to the consumer. But this is America, and corporate greed, corporate profits, will always trump public safety and welfare, or any concern whatsoever for the animals that suffer and die to satisfy our hunger.
According to Trent Loos, a flack for apro-agribusiness, pro-corporate PR front group Faces of Agriculture , "A hen in a cage is actually not that much different from a traveler in a hotel with room service." Wow. Who would have guessed?
Room service, he says. Uh-huh. Makes you want to become a lacto-ovo vegetarian. Then push ol' Trent Loos' teeth into that metal beak-grinder while pelting him with rotten eggs. Doesn't it . . . ?
The solution? Raise your own. Or buy eggs from someone who does.