LAST UPDATED: 7 December 2020
If you've ever held a tiny, chirping chick in your hand, you'll know that for that moment, you hold complete responsibility for his or her life. With the greatest of ease you could take that life, and with the same ease you could protect it from harm.
There's nothing more vulnerable and defenceless in this world than a newborn chick. Yet deep inside Australian hatcheries, their lives are being snuffed out every single day. Since they can't lay eggs, male chicks are considered 'worthless' to the egg industry. So, every day, they're sorted from the females, dumped onto moving conveyor belts and dropped into giant metal grinding machines or gassed to death. This is the first (and last) day of life for over 12 million chicks in Australia every year.
The killing of day old chicks happens in all commercial egg systems, be it caged, organic or free range. And it's legal. We have made cruelty to some of the most vulnerable members of our society routine and lawful. This is the true cost of eggs.
What these brave investigators documented is something that no one should ever have to see. And it's certainly something that no one should ever have to do. More than that — it's something that should never happen, and soon it might not have to ...
Scientists have developed technology that can determine the sex of a chick before an egg is incubated. If adopted by the egg industry, male chicks would never need to be hatched, sparing them from a brutal death.
However, we needn't wait for the egg industry to decide whether sparing the lives of millions of chicks is "commercially viable". We all have a part to play in the way animals are treated. The regular cruelty inflicted upon farmed animals would be illegal if it were to happen to dogs and cats. Why? Because our laws deliberately exempt farmed animals from the same protections afforded to our pets. Which leaves their future in our hands ...
By consuming fewer eggs, or leaving them out altogether, we each have the power to change the fate of chicks and hens for the better, starting right now. Reducing the demand for eggs is the simplest way to help end the killing of day old chicks, and show the egg industry that you won't stand for cruelty. You'll also spare the lives of layer hens who, despite naturally living up to 12 years, will be sent to slaughter from 18 months of age.
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.