The Cage Free/Organic Egg Myth

I just started eating eggs again a couple of months ago when I finally found a brand at Whole Foods that is Certified Humane. I really like eggs and missed them when I stopped eating meat. They are easy to cook and provide so many vitamins that I am probably not getting if I don’t eat eggs because for the life of me, I cannot remember to take a daily multi-vitamin.

I was eating the Whole Foods eggs until I happily discovered that the farmer’s market I go to sells eggs from chickens raised on a local farm. The yolks are a bright golden orange color (the color they should be!) and they taste so fresh. I don’t even mind spending $8 for a dozen because I can easily get 5 or 6 meals out of that!

Be warned: A lot of eggs are labeled as being organic, free range, cage free, etc. and there is NO standard as to what any of this means. Companies that produce eggs can essentially say whatever they want on the carton and put pretty pictures of chickens in green pastures on their egg cartons and at the end of the day, it doesn’t mean they are treating the chickens humanely by any means.  There are very few regulations.

Chickens are BY FAR the most abused/mistreated animals in the commercial farming industry. These labels are completely misleading. These companies will put whatever pretty pictures they need to on cartons to get you to buy them. Free range can just mean chickens have access to some small, cramped outdoor space. It doesn’t mean they spend all of their time outdoors or that there is even a standard for how much time they get outside. And getting any “fresh” air or access to nice green grass is probably not even an option because these farms are so infested with disgusting antibiotics and pesticides, not to mention animal waste that isn’t cleaned up. Cage free generally means a bunch of chickens are stuffed into an open warehouse type environment or indoor feedlot rather than being stuffed in cages. The workers often wear masks because of the overwhelming smell of ammonia. None of these are ideal situations for any animal or human.

Certified Humane Raised and Handled means that the company producing the eggs has to abide by certain standards when raising and killing animals, and if they are not upheld, they can lose their certification status. These companies must:

“Meet the Humane Farm Animal Care program standards, which includes nutrious diet without antibiotics or hormones, animals raised with shelter, resting areas, sufficient space and the ability to engage in natural behaviours.”

Certified Humane eggs are hard to find and they’re expensive. I am not saying everyone should immediately stop eating eggs. But there is a reason that the ones at most grocery stores are so cheap. They are likely full of disgusting hormones and antibiotics passed on from their mothers. The yolks are usually a pale yellow color which is completely unnatural for an egg. So be cautious and use your discretion when deciding what to feed yourself and your family. A quote I will never forget reading is “Every egg has an abused chicken for a mother.”

I know with absolute certainty it is 100% impossible for the whole world to become vegan and I don’t preach that at all because I think it’s unrealistic. But I  absolutely do believe in subsisting as much as possible on plant-based foods for health and moral reasons. I am also a VERY strong advocate for treating animals humanely. I hope to live to see the day that the concept of “commercial farming” is a thing of the past. I think farms should use natural methods for feeding, treating and raising animals rather than pumping them full of antibiotics and hormones.  I absolutely believe that this is 100% possible if we all work together to improve the lives and treatment of animals while improving our own health, happiness and well-being.

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