As I ponder my post challenge life (a mere week away), I am reconsidering my secret goal of becoming a lacto-ovo vegetarian. Newly acquired knowledge of the life of a laying hen in an industrial egg operation, and the demise of her male offspring, has left me traumatized.
In factory egg farms, laying hens are housed in facilities where up to 100,000 birds are stacked in rows of bare wire cells called “battery cages”. Four to six laying hens are placed into each cage where they are unable to stretch their wings or move about freely. To reduce stress-induced pecking and fighting, the hens’ beaks are severed at the tip using a hot knife or a guillotine-like device. A 10% mortality rate is reportedly common in the egg laying shed from this and the stress of over crowding. To aggravate matters, hens are evidently “force molted” by removing nourishment and light, which stimulates egg production.
I am saddened to report another problem inherent with egg production which involves the disposal of unwanted male chicks. Because males don’t lay eggs and egg-type strains of chickens don’t grow fast enough to be raised profitably for meat, the male chicks are discarded shortly after hatching. Hence, male chicks are dispatched by the least expensive and efficient method available. Unbelievably, this may include live maceration (i.e., grinding).
How can I practice Lacto-Ovo vegetariansim and be complict with anything remotely related to the above?
Tomorrow: A broiler meats its end