LAST UPDATED: 4 November 2020
We can all agree that animals should be protected from cruelty. So it's no surprise that the egg industry doesn't advertise any of this...
Egg laying hens are among millions of animals raised for ‘food’ in Australia who are deliberately excluded from legal protection against cruel treatment. This leaves them vulnerable to terrible suffering — including being severely confined in small cages for their entire lives, or having parts of their sensitive beaks cut off without any pain relief.
Investigations have shown that even the woefully minimal industry standards that are in place have little value due to a lack of oversight by industry and government. A hen may spend her entire life — and death — without ever being seen by an independent auditor.
Hens can naturally live up to 10 years, but in this commercially-driven industry their lives cease to have value the day they can't turn a profit. So from as young as 18 months, when their egg production slows, hens in all commercial egg systems are packed into crates and sent to slaughter. For most laying hens in Australia, the first time she will ever see the sky, or breathe fresh air, is from the truck on the way to the slaughterhouse.
Over the last half a century, most egg production has transformed from small family farming into an industrialised system, run by large corporations. Animals are seen as production units, to be crammed into smaller and smaller spaces, so fewer staff can oversee more animals. For hens this means lives of misery, and for rural communities this means fewer jobs and profits funnelled into large corporations rather than farming communities.
Male chicks can't produce eggs, so they have no value to the egg industry. On their first day of life at hatcheries, they are dropped into grinders or gassed to death. Sadly, this happens across the whole egg industry.
Bonus fact: chickens are smart, sweet and silly!
The good news is that we each have the power to change the fate of hens and chicks for the better, starting right now. By consuming fewer eggs, or leaving them out altogether, we can reduce the demand that has created the system that most caring people would never have condoned in the first place.
Cooking without eggs has never been easier! From hearty breakfasts to light and fluffy baked goods, we've got you covered. Get started today with these handy guides and delicious recipes. And order your free veg starter kit here: