September 21, 2009

Save the chicks

"If slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be a vegetarian."
~Paul McCartney

We recently decided to stop eating eggs. B and I had talked about it off and on for a couple of years, but never really wanted to give them up. After all, eggs are cheap, fast, and easy to make. A lot of American breakfasts are sweet and unhealthy, but eggs can balance out a pancake or help you sneak in some veggies in an omelet. They were definitely a staple in our weekly grocery shopping.

Then I saw this video circulating through some blogs that I read. It's undercover footage of what happens to baby chicks after they hatch at a breed-hatchery, and it's pretty gruesome. The group that took the footage admits that their sole purpose is to get people to stop eating eggs. Something needs to be done, but I certainly don't have the answers.

I hesitated to show it to Robotson, but then I thought he was old enough to know where our eggs come from. First I asked him if he wanted to see it and I explained that it might upset him. Then I let him watch it and decide what he thought for himself. Not surprisingly, he no longer wanted to eat them. At least for a few weeks.
Yesterday, he told me he wished we still ate eggs. I'm trying to find a good tofu scramble alternative, but not having much luck finding something the kids will like. I told him I missed having egg options too. I've considered going to the local farmer's market and picking up eggs there. I even briefly considered raising our own chickens. Not sure the neighbors would go for that though. Pretty sure our dog would not. Robotson had a different idea. He wanted to call his hero, Dr. Floyd. He felt certain that if Dr. Floyd did a podcast on the treatment of these chicks, then the factory workers and everyone else would see how wrong it is and stop immediately. So he gave him a call. It went something like this:
"This is Robotson from before (he's called several times). I live in Georgia and I'm eight and a half now. I watched this video of how they treat baby chicks, so we can eat eggs, and it's really bad. They kill all of the boy babies by grinding them alive and cut all the girl babies' beaks a little bit off. Sometimes they fall down and just die or get burned by really hot water. Can you tell everyone that works there that it's not right to treat chicks that way? I want to eat eggs again."
I'm not sure what, if anything, will happen, but I was so proud of Robotson for making that call.


  1. Robotson might be comfortable with locally-raised chickens; we get our eggs from farmers we know and trust, who have pledged to treat their chickens kindly (and many of whom we have visited). It's not a choice between eggs and no eggs; it can be a choice between factory-farmed eggs and humanely-raised local eggs and no eggs :)

  2. I'm sure you can find local, humanely raised eggs close by.

    Replacing egg in your diet with more soy may not be good. Obviously that is for you to decide. I worry about the dangers of soy. As you don't like to eat meat (for good obvious reasons!), I try to avoid soy for my family. Soy lurks in so many processed foods it is crazy. it is hard to completely avoid it (though we did for several years when E was allergic to it) There are tons of reasons why: health/breast cancer/sperm count/vitamin absorbtion/thyroid disease in kids/environment/ genetic engineering/big business - agribusiness.

    I guess there are so many food realted issues out there that unfortunately you have to pick and choose what is important for your specific family members. It is really sad that we have to worry about our food like this.

    Sorry. I could go on but I forgot this is really about chickens and their eggs. Ask on CHE loop if anyone knows where to get local eggs. I'd love to find out.

  3. Grace- I did ask a few weeks ago. There is a local farm

    On Weds they sell them at a local church. I've thought about picking some up, but haven't so far. I know what you mean about soy. Luckily we avoid many processed things, but I'd say we eat more soy than the average family. At least the kids do. They love soymilk and that's probably where they get most of their intake. I figure they'll grow out of that eventually anyway and I try to stick to non-GMO soy just in case. Still, other than the milk, they aren't eating it everyday. 3-4 times a week.

    Jan Andrea-I have looked into local eggs. I want to be able to take him with me to talk to the farmer but it hasn't worked out. I'll definitely be posting again if/when we do! Thanks!

  4. I limited my meat intake, knowing what happens in slaughterhouses. I rarely eat eggs as well. Hopefully I can eliminate these things entirely OR find someone who raises chickens humanely when I return to the states (no such luck here in Asia, of course).

    Thanks for sharing this! I will definitely be far more conscientious about eggs now.

  5. I agree with the others: support the farmers who treat their hens humanely, and buy eggs from them.