LAST UPDATED: 14 January 2016
Chickens are remarkably intelligent and social animals, each with a distinct personality. Like all animals, they deserve a life free from cruelty. You can help change the lives of these sensitive animals by eating fewer eggs or going egg-free — and choosing not to support an industry that still confines most of its laying hens to battery cages, and sentences millions of unwanted male chicks to a cruel death every year.
Why go egg-free?
Cage egg sales are in decline as more and more caring shoppers realise that battery hens endure lives of misery. With less space per bird than one A4 sized piece of paper, a laying hen is forced to stand on wire 24 hours a day and cannot even stretch her wings. Truly free range and organic egg farms afford birds more space and access to the outdoors — which is essential to their wellbeing. However hens in all commercial egg systems are sent to slaughter when their egg production wanes at about 18 months of age (of a natural lifespan of about 10 years).
To replace 'spent' hens, millions of chicks are hatched yearly, of which only half will grow up to lay eggs. The other half — approximately 12 million economically 'worthless' day-old male chicks — are either gassed to death or ground up alive. Sadly, these baby animals face being discarded regardless of the 'production system' they were born into — cage, barn or free range.
This video shows what happens to chicks in industrial hatcheries like those throughout Australia.
Easy egg-free baking
Fortunately cooking your favourite dishes without eggs is a cinch — whether you're into mud cakes, pancakes, cupcakes, or even meringue! Here are some of our favourite recipes. Click on the links below to download individual recipe cards, or click here to print them all.
Adapting your favourite recipes
For an all-purpose egg substitute, look out for Orgran's 'No Egg' — found in the health food section of most supermarkets. One packet of 'No Egg' is the equivalent of 66 eggs, and works well in savoury and sweet dishes alike. These days, you can even find egg yolk replacer: try The Vegg for french toast and lemon curd.
For other easy egg substitutes you can use 1 mashed banana or 1/4 cup of apple sauce per egg (good for cakes/muffins), 2 tablespoons of corn flour (works well in savouries), 1 tablespoon of ground flax/linseed or chia seeds with 3 tablespoons of water (left to sit and thicken for 5-10 mins), 1/4 cup canola oil or melted vegetable margarine. And, most magical of all, you can use aquafaba (AKA the water from a can of chickpeas) to make fluffy, perfect meringues. Seriously. Need more? Click here for some more handy egg-free tips.
Would you like to go the extra mile for battery hens? Find out how you can give a rescued hen a new lease on life.