One was found to have 14 eggs in her. Photo: University of Kentucky College of Agriculture. Eggs are also high in vitamin E, protein and healthy fats, as well as relatively low in calories, so having an egg to start your day can easily help you crack open the key to a healthy breakfast. Egg labels are often intentionally deceiving. We need to encourage pastured egg and chicken production. She had been a prolific egg layer but had recently stopped. Pastured chicken meat contains 21% less fat and 50% more Vitamin A than the USDA standard. Destroying male chicks is standard egg industry practice worldwide (see the 5 second graphic video below). Â, When shopping, look for the Certified Humane seal on a package. In the U.S. alone, more than 260 million male chicks are killed in the egg industry every year… that’s around 30,000 newborn chicks killed every hour just for eggs. Rodriguez, Sheila. Photo: Robert Grillo. Overproduction of eggs is responsible for numerous disorders in hens, including often fatal diseases of the reproductive tract; osteoporosis and accompanying bone fractures; and, in some cases, total skeletal paralysis, sometimes referred to as “caged layer fatigue.”, Osteoporosis and bone fragility from unnatural lay rates are also greatly exacerbated by lack of exercise: more than 95% of egg laying hens in the U.S. spend their entire lives confined in battery cages so small they cannot even spread their wings.5. Bottom line: The most humane eggs you'll eat are the ones from chickens allowed to roam and feed on their natural diets. Ideally the best egg is organic, pastured (or free-range), USDA A or AA, stamped with the Certified Humane or Animal Welfare Approved seal. Each of these sections is like a station along an assembly line and is responsible for a specific stage of egg formation. 1. The last stop in egg production is the vagina. Retrieved 2/11/2014 from, 3. Not technically, since eggs sold for human consumption are unfertilized, but the global egg industry kills millions of newborn baby chicks every single day. A chicken’s beak is the sensory equivalent of a human fingertip — loaded with blood vessels, pain receptors, and free nerve endings that facilitate food detection in the wild. This article by Ashley Capps originally appeared at Free From Harm and is reprinted with the author’s permission. Sure, the chickens weren't in cages, but their living conditions were no better than if they were crammed into cages of a similarly puny size, Hsiung wrote in a contributed piece for the Huffington Post. They are either slaughtered for their meat—being paralyzed by electric shock and having their throats slit—or they are disposed of by being gassed or thrown alive onto dead piles. Female human ovaries also contain developing eggs. Though the hens aren’t in cages, they get only a square foot or so of space each and are kept awake in artificial light to increase production. The vagina also pushes the egg out through the vent or cloaca, the shared exit through which urine, feces, and eggs are excreted. Like egg binding, prolapse is commonly a result of small birds being genetically manipulated to lay an unnaturally high rate of unnaturally large eggs. It is tragic as some cases are so severe they can not be corrected, but we try to save these wonderful animals! We hospitalized, stabilized her, and in a few days performed an exploratory surgery. Hens ovulate for the same reason female humans do: to reproduce. Their bodies could never sustain the physical depletion of laying the hundreds of eggs that domestic chickens have been forced to produce through genetic manipulation. “Cage free” hens are packed into large warehouses often containing more than five thousand birds apiece. These conventionally-raised, factory-farmed eggs come from birds who are kept in wire battery cages stacked by the thousands on top of each other inside warehouses without fresh air or sunlight. The longest stage of egg production occurs in the shell gland or uterus. Backyard chickens and free-range farm eggs are the most humane, but if you can't access these two types, Certified Humane cage-free eggs are your next best bet. “The Morally Informed Consumer: Examining Animal Welfare Claims on Egg Labels,” Temple Journal of Science, Technology & Environmental Law, 51 (2011). The ovum, or yolk, stays in the magnum for 3 hours while the albumen, or “egg white,” is added. But more than 20,000 birds can be severely confined in a windowless, warehouse-style shed and still have their eggs sold under “free-range” or “cage-free” labels. Encyclopedia of Life, About Chickens. At the hatcheries that supply female chicks to factory egg farms, small farms, and backyard egg hen enthusiasts, male chicks are sorted and killed shortly after birth by being ground up alive in giant macerators, gassed, or left to suffocate in garbage bags and dumpsters. We removed over one pound of decomposed egg material from her oviduct (uterus).”, Jewel Johnson, who rescues chickens at Danzig’s Roost in Colorado, writes of the human-engineered overproduction of eggs in laying hens: “I’ve had two hens die on the operating table. “Unlike most domestic hens, who have been selectively bred to lay eggs year-round, wild fowl breed and lay primarily in spring. Reproductive disorders in egg laying hens include tumors of the oviduct; peritonitis; egg binding (large eggs getting stuck and being slow and painful to pass); and uterine prolapse, a condition in which the lower portion of the oviduct fails to retract back into the body after oviposition, or the depositing of an egg. Most eggs are not even sold under humane pretexts. An HSUS Report: The Welfare of Animals In the Egg Industry: Even the most rigorous humane labeling certification programs in the U.S., Certified Humane, American Humane Certified, and Animal Welfare Approved, permit the killing of male chicks at the hatcheries which supply their egg farms with laying hens.5. Retrieved 2/11/2014 from, 2. It's also currently illegal to use hormones in any type of poultry, the Food and Drug Administration reports, so "hormone-free" means absolutely nothing special on your egg carton, as all legally sold eggs are free of added hormones. The unnaturally high rates of labor intensive, energy depleting egg production that modern hens are forced to sustain means that even on small farms and backyard chicken operations, hens are virtual prisoners inside their own bodies. Backyard Eggs provide at least 108 square feet of pasture per bird, so the hens have a huge amount of space to roam and eat grass, bugs, worms, etc. Pastured eggs contain 10% less fat, 34% less cholesterol, 40% more Vitamin A and 4 times the amount of omega-3. Even the word "humane" isn't USDA certified, so really any egg producer could print it on their packaging without many consequences.Â, Of course, if you can visit the farm or site where eggs are laid (such as your own or a neighbor's backyard), you can verify that the chickens are living in appropriate conditions, but for those in urban areas, coordinating a coop visit may not be in the realm of grocery-shopping possibility. According to Certified Humane, labels like organic, natural and non-GMO can be misleading, as the USDA has no certifications on how much space or light an organically raised chicken needs. …We had a hen come in as she was weak, lethargic, and had an enlarged abdomen. More than 260 million are killed every year in the U.S. alone.4. The ovum remains in the infundibulum for 15 to 18 minutes, and it is here where fertilization would occur if the hen mated with a rooster. Those who rescue hens can feed their eggs back to these birds, who will typically eat them with great enthusiasm, and grind the shells into their feed to restore much needed calcium. University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, Poultry Extension, Small and Backyard Flocks: Frequently Asked Questions. However, eggs sold for human consumption are not fertilized (most egg-laying hens never even have a chance to mate. They’ve partnered with several small family farms throughout the country, which guarantees peace of mind for Costco and gives these smaller purveyors a steady stream of business.

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