Did you know that the reason you get a lot of broken and thin eggshells in the spring is because of the natural life-cycle of hens? In the spring, they ramp up their egg production in order to produce all those spring chickens. Although egg farmers can control for thin eggs a little, the chicken cycle of life trumps agricultural science quite a lot and we have a season (or two, depending on the breed of chicken) of fragile eggs.
I like free range eggs, though sometimes they can be cost-prohibitive, especially with two egg-loving teens in the house. We like to get ours from the farmer’s market and support our local backyard and small farmers while getting eggs from chickens raised in humane conditions. The factory egg producers with their battery hens living in appalling conditions are quite heart-wrenching and a little scary. I’d prefer my eggs to come from healthy, happy chickens living in clean and sane conditions. Whether battery farming produces less nutritious eggs is a debate that I’m not willing to enter into. Even if it doesn’t affect the nutritional content, I’d like my eggs to not be the by-product of another living creature’s suffering.
The problem with worrying about the conditions your eggs come from is that we have so much to worry about in general in modern society, one gets worry and outrage fatigue. Of course decent people don’t want chickens to be tortured so that they can have an omelet for breakfast. But when you’ve got a thousand other things to worry about and the media shouting fear and hatred at you every day, it’s easy to become numb. Battery chickens are invisible to us for the most part, and so easier to shove into the “ignore” category.
I’d like to put forth the idea that eating mindfully, which is a big focus of my Lenten activities, doesn’t only mean not cramming my face with junk food and thinking through issues of “comfort food” and the like. It also means paying attention to where my food comes from. Paying attention makes it ever harder to eat animal products, given the modern standards of care and production of factory animals. Paying attention means you become aware that soy can be as destructive to the biosphere as bacon. Eating can become complicated when you start mixing your omelet with a seasoning of food ethics. If life is sacred and food is life, then it’s worth the extra thought. And unlike what’s happening on another continent or with this or that politician (who will ignore everything you say if you’re from another party), your food is something you can affect, every day and every meal.
- Feathered affection (csmonitor.com)
- Day 88: Store Bought vs. Stolen from Chickens Eggs (skinny365.wordpress.com)
- Sam Judd: Are free-range eggs all they’re cracked up to be? (nzherald.co.nz)