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 Eggs: Standard, Cage-Free, or Free-Range? What do these terms really mean? How much space do chickens deserve?

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dragonfly
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PostSubject: Eggs: Standard, Cage-Free, or Free-Range? What do these terms really mean? How much space do chickens deserve?   Tue Aug 17, 2010 4:17 pm

Eggs: Standard, Cage-Free, or Free-Range? What do these terms really mean? How much space do chickens deserve?

I read a short, clear, article in the Aug. 15, 2010 New York Times on the amount of living space that we give to the chickens that produce 99% of our eggs.
A Hen's Space to Roost

97% of our eggs come from chickens that live under these conditions:

8.2 x 8.2 inches of floor space per chicken, less than a piece of notebook paper!

Six chickens are placed in a cage with a floor space of 20.1 x 20.1 inches, less than the size of your dishwasher’ door! For their entire lives, their bodies are always pressed against each other, etc.

2% of our eggs are from ‘Cage-free’ chickens:

That means they each get 11 x 11 inches of floor space (slightly bigger than a piece of notebook paper), always inside, in large ‘barns’.

1% of our eggs are from ‘Free-range’ chickens:

That usually means very limited access for at least some of the chickens to some space outside.

A vanishingly small number currently come from truly free-range birds, and most of these can only be found at local farmers markets.

This is the reality of the current system we have constructed. Chickens aren’t human beings, but they are not rocks. They are biological creatures that, like us, are biologically constructed with stress and pain perceptions that allow them to exist in the real world.

What is it doing to us as individuals or as a society when we know, or refuse to know, how we are treating creatures that are dependent on us for their care and that are providing us with our nourishment? We are literally ingesting our unsavory behavior.

Although we all work to keep it out of our minds, we know it is wrong. Most of us would love to take our children to a day visit to ‘Old McDonald’s’ farm, even knowing many of the animals were going to end up on the table. But what would be our first reaction, even if we think we don’t know much about this issue, if we, or our children were invited a field trip to see the factory farms where most of our eggs and meat are being raised today?

What can we do?

We don’t need to wait for legislation we just have to modify the way we eat. As a country, and as individuals, we are gorging ourselves and our children on animal-based protein. Our behavior is not only unhealthy, but also a root cause of the problem. If the demand isn’t there, the supply, and the cruel practices, will disappear.

There are many great non-animal sources of protein: beans, amaranth, nuts, etc. Start with one animal-less day a week and gradually build to at least 3 or 4 meat and egg-free days a week. You will still get plenty of protein and as a surprise bonus you will discover the great flavors of whole grains and vegetables.

Read Michael Pollan’s book Food Rules. Takes ~30 minutes and is a great orientation to some of these issues!

Food Rules

Know your food, where it comes from and the conditions it was grown under. Spend your money wisely on limited amounts of meat and eggs from animals that have been raised locally and humanely, your local farmers market is a great place to start! If your grocery store does not stock humanely grown meat and eggs, you can politely let the manager know why you are not purchasing what they stock.

As individuals, our unreasonable demands created the problem. Our reasonable, individual, actions can correct it!

How much space do chickens deserve?

How much value do we place on our own sense of personal decency?

We can't make better choices if we don't know how things are being done!
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PostSubject: 228 million eggs recalled   Wed Aug 18, 2010 3:23 pm

This just came out today, the day after the post!

228 milloion eggs recalled

Linked after they were linked to 200 cases of salmonella.
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PostSubject: Up to 500,000,000 eggs recalled, root cause?   Sat Aug 21, 2010 1:03 pm

It is up to 'half a billion' eggs recalled. 500-1000 ill, so far, may be linked to the contaminated eggs.

One of the articles about the recall, in the newspaper today, shows the picture of a concerned egg farmer standing next to what looks like a regular closet door opening into a 'large room' (exact size unclear since the interior darkness rapidly occludes the rest of the room). It is crammed full of stacked chicken cages that are each crammed full of chickens. Eggs can be seen rolling down the gutters that catch and remove the eggs as they (presumably) fall through the floors of the cages.

Could there be any connection?

No doubt he is concerned about his business. Perhaps he is also concerned about the sickened.

The root cause of his worries, however, is simply the loss of understanding, in each of us as individuals, of just how highly we should respect the 'lowly' chickens for all they give us.
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PostSubject: Re: Eggs: Standard, Cage-Free, or Free-Range? What do these terms really mean? How much space do chickens deserve?   Sun Jan 22, 2012 7:15 pm

That's why 4-6 hens should be allowed in small city lots all across the country! A neighbor just gave us 6 eggs from her birdies and man, how delicious! We cooked them over easy and just a delight!
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