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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am lacto-ovo and buy organic, but I understand that (here in the US) organic usually doesn't mean much. I have bought Eggland organic eggs a couple of times, and wrote to the company asking about their treatment of hens and whether or not they are "de-beaked." This is their response... what do you think?<br><br><br><br><br><br><br><br>
"Thank you for your interest in the treatment of Eggland's Best hens.<br><br><br><br>
Our regular Eggland's Best eggs in the white carton are from caged hens and the Eggland's Best Cage-Free and Eggland's Best Organic are cage free. The cage-free environment offers greater freedom for movement. Cages are still the most prevalent housing system in the commercial egg industry, since they offer the best sanitation, ventilation, and freedom from dust and ammonia. Cages are the most disease-free environment, since the hens do not have access to others' manure and there is no organic matter for bacteria to grow on. Eggs from caged birds have one-third the risk of salmonella contamination, although it is a very low risk problem anyway. There are fewer problems with hens pecking each other when they are in small groups with rigidly defined social order, rather than the continual mingling and challenging that goes on in a large barn. If a hen gets injured to the point of bleeding in a large flock of hens, she will get mercilessly pecked by hundreds of other birds.<br><br><br><br>
When a chicken grows up in a cage, it becomes its familiar "home" --- just as some people become more comfortable in the cramped quarters and density of a city than in open country. Chicks, ducklings, goslings, etc. imprint on or bond with the first moving object they see after they hatch. That object will become their "mom", even if it is a person or even a mechanical object. Similarly, they imprint on their surroundings and whatever they're given becomes their home. A problem with the cage environment is that the space allotment is a little too cozy, so the whole industry will be reducing the number of hens per cage over the next few years. It cannot be done immediately, since farmers have to build more houses in order to maintain the same total number of hens and egg production capacity. Under current management techniques, caged hens will have about 8% mortality in a year's time, cage-free will have about 12% mortality and free-range will have about 20%. When the cage density is decreased in the next few years, the mortality rates will probably decrease to even less than 8%.<br><br><br><br>
Cage-free management is increasing in popularity, but it will take awhile for it to expand. You can house 100,000 hens in a barn with a cage system, and 15,000 hens per barn in a cage-free system. If a farmer has to build 6 new barns in order to convert from cages to cage-free, while maintaining the same number of hens, you can see that it is a big financial issue. When you have 100,000 hens in one house, you rarely have to provide supplemental heat in the winter, whereas with a cage-free barn, there are not enough warm bodies for the amount of space and the expense for heating can be quite significant. I am not in any way thinking that I am selling you on cages, but at least you can see why that has been the preferred method of production.<br><br><br><br>
Whoever came up with the term "de-beaking" did a big disservice to the egg industry. Chickens are never de-beaked, but the tip of the upper beak is blunted so that it doesn't become a hawk-like weapon to inflict damage on her associates. Beak trimmed hens appear very normal.<br><br><br><br>
Please write back if you have any additional questions."<br><br><br><br>
I appreciate that they took the time to write such a detailed response, but not sure I buy the whole bit about "beak trimming" and how it's totally fine and the hens don't mind it. Really, she kind of dodged the question. But it's ncie to get a response at least. Most companies never write me back.
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block"><i>Originally posted by spa_girl</i><br><br><b>Whoever came up with the term "de-beaking" did a big disservice to the egg industry. Chickens are never de-beaked, but the tip of the upper beak is blunted so that it doesn't become a hawk-like weapon to inflict damage on her associates. Beak trimmed hens appear very normal.<br><br><br><br>
Please write back if you have any additional questions."<br><br><br><br>
I appreciate that they took the time to write such a detailed response, but not sure I buy the whole bit about "beak trimming" and how it's totally fine and the hens don't mind it. Really, she kind of dodged the question. But it's ncie to get a response at least. Most companies never write me back.</b></div>
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I agree that "de-beaking" is a misnomer, but "blunted?" Has she seen the pictures of these birds? Does she know about how this is done? They most definitely do not appear normal. I hate PR.
 

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Gag. Ugh, that's such a depressing reply. That's very upsetting. I would never buy anything from that company, with that kind of a reply. They're basically trying to justify their own mistreatment. I wouldn't trust any of their organic or cage-free birds to be treated any better.<br><br><br><br>
Summary: "We do offer cage-free eggs, but the birds prefer being stuffed in tiny cages with no room to move, it makes them feel safe; and besides it will take years for us to build bigger cages."
 

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It's a pacifier. It tells egg-eaters what they need to hear in order to justify continued egg-eating.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
It's pretty sad, huh? I mean, if I was forced to live my whole life in a cage I suppose I'd sort of view it as my "home", but what the h$%& does that say about quality of life????
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block"><i>Originally posted by spa_girl</i><br><br><b>It's pretty sad, huh? I mean, if I was forced to live my whole life in a cage I suppose I'd sort of view it as my "home", but what the h$%& does that say about quality of life????</b></div>
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Yeah, somebody needs to send this woman a book on the Stockholm syndrome (aka battered woman's syndrome).
 

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They are a business and, for them, it's about the financial bottom line. They couldn't be profitable if they provided a natural environment for their birds.<br><br><br><br>
Beak-trimming, crowding (cage or no cage), killing unwanted chicks, etc. is always going to happen at any large scale egg farm (organic or not). The only way one could get around this is to buy eggs from a small family farm or keep your own chickens. For me - it's easier just to not eat eggs (which isn't hard for me considering what they are - yech!)
 

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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/spew.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":spew:"><br><br><br><br>
"A problem with the cage environment is that the space allotment is a <b>little too cozy</b>"<br><br><br><br><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/mad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":mad:"><br><br><br><br>
"Whoever came up with the term "de-beaking" did a big disservice to the egg industry."<br><br><br><br>
Yes and I hope a lot more disservice will be done to it in the future!!!<br><br><br><br><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/shocked.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":eek:"><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/mad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":mad:"><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/spew.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":spew:">
 

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"Chickens are never de-beaked, but the tip of the upper beak is blunted so that it doesn't become a hawk-like weapon to inflict damage on her associates."<br><br><br><br>
Chickens don't inflict damage on their associates unless they're overcrowded and stressed.<br><br><br><br>
If only we could switch places with these animals for a day, to see how much they really love their cozy cages.
 

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I realize that when we read a letter from the evil corporation lady, we immediately become the yin to her yang instinctively. It seems a bit too reactionary, and if you can't offer credible evidence to the contrary, why not take at least <i>some</i> of what she responded with at face value?<br><br><br><br>
Personally, I think she did a very good job articulating why the caged system is so prevalent. I'm not saying I agree with current production methods, but I certainly wasn't expecting an over 200% increase in mortality rates for free-range chickens.
 

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Fenguin, see <a href="http://www.cok.net/lit/freerange.php" target="_blank">http://www.cok.net/lit/freerange.php</a><br><br>
"Inside commercial free-range egg farms, mortality rates are even higher than those in battery cage facilities, as uncaged birds must live in their own excrement, spending their lives among filth and disease. In contrast, caged hens are suspended over vast manure pits. "
 

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My family had a commercial chicken house as I was growing up. Cozy is not a word I would ever choose to describe it! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/sad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":(">
 

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This lady needs some help learning how to answer questions correctly. Why did she feel the need to defend WHY they cage their chickens? You are a potential customer and she tries to lure you into debate? WTF? You asked a simple question, and although it might not have been her intention...she certainly gave you an answer. What a nut.
 
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