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Free-Range Eggs Aren’t All They’re Cracked Up to Be

Posted by at 1:37 PM | Permalink | Comments (6)


Many people have been scrambling to buy eggs from free-range farms, thinking that they’re healthier and more humane than eggs from factory farms. While buying eggs from local farmers who don’t cram hens into small, filthy cages is kinder than buying eggs that were produced on factory farms, it’s not a truly viable—or humane—solution.

More than 300 million hens are raised on factory egg farms every year—approximately 95 percent of the eggs produced in America come from factory-farmed birds. The sheer number of animals raised to satisfy people’s taste for eggs, meat, and milk makes it impossible for us to raise and kill them all on small farms.

In many cases, animals raised on organic or free-range farms suffer from the same painful mutilations as animals raised on conventional farms. “Free-range” or “organic” labels don’t guarantee that animals are treated humanely any more than KFC’s flowery assurances about its animal welfare practices guarantees that animals raised for its restaurants don’t suffer. Chickens and other animals raised on organic or free-range farms are typically transported to the same terrifying slaughterhouses used by factory farms. Many animals are scalded to death or dismembered while they’re still conscious.

It’s not just our farming practices that need to change but also our eating habits. While PETA supports any action that helps reduce animal suffering, we believe that the only truly humane option is for people to choose tasty vegan alternatives to meat, eggs, and dairy products. Think about it: Would you encourage someone who beats their children to beat them less violently and less often? Or would you tell them to stop beating their children altogether? Less frequent, softer beatings would certainly be less painful for the children, but they’re not really a compassionate alternative.

Fortunately, as more people realize that animals—who are made of flesh, bone, and blood, just as humans are—have interests and feelings that must be protected, they will eventually also come to realize that there’s no good reason to raise them for food in the first place. There are humane, healthy, and delicious vegan alternatives, which are the kindest, safest choice.

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6 Comments

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    Angus says...

    June 7th, 2011, 11:49 pm

    Campaigning for animal welfare is a great and necessary cause, but I’m a bit alarmed that you suggest the the viable alternative is to become vegan. That’s a decidedly unhealthy life choice. You cannot get complete nutrition on a vegan diet, and I would say we are equally guilty of mistreatment if we force our children or animals onto such an unnatural and potentially harmful diet.

    Paul says...

    June 8th, 2011, 3:52 pm

    Angus,

    I’m afraid you couldn’t be more wrong about the health benefits of a vegan diet. Check out the health section of this site for yourself and you’ll see for a ton of great articles that not only point out how healthy a compassionate diet is, but also cite the ever-growing number of expert medical opinions that back that conclusion.

    Marcella Smith says...

    June 10th, 2011, 8:52 pm

    Wow Angus, it has been scientifically proven over and over that a plant based diet it far healthier than a meat eating diet which causes long term chronic illnesses such as we call in the medical field, the 4 H’s. High Glucose, High Bloodpressure, High Cholesterol(unless you take drugs that damage your liver), and High Cancer rates. And I bet if you are over 40, and a meat eater you have aleast one of them, tell the truth, how is your gallbladder too? Guess what? These are all caused by the way you eat, not the way a plant based diet person eats, in fact, if you switch to our diets you can even cure some of your chronic joint problems too, and obesity. Yep, its all in what you eat

    anne roberts says...

    June 11th, 2011, 6:24 am

    Sorry Angus have to disagree I have never felt or been healthier since going to vegan and quite frankly I cant trust all these so called experts that pop up and often wonder what their slant is so I just go with proof of the pudding is in the eating as the saying goes. But thats just my opinion.

    Jana belot says...

    June 11th, 2011, 8:45 am

    Angus,

    That mentality is killing you. I am a 46 year old vegan. My energy and vitality is limitless. I log my food into myfooddiary.com every day. I do not eat fake meats etc. I eat only veggies, fruit, lentils, nuts, potatoes, rice, etc. Everyday I meet all of the recommended vitamins and minerals without even trying. It is also quite simple to get that protein number pushed on us by the meat industry. You can stay a slave to the meat and diary companies if you want! Me … I’ll stay healthy, strong, compassionate and vital without eating someone else!

    I wish you well .. Angus.

    Jana

    Suzanne says...

    March 19th, 2012, 3:32 pm

    What about cat food? Is there a relatively humane source of chicken (which seems to be all my rescued Bengal can eat without getting very sick)? I realize this is getting kind of granular for PETA given their vegan stance, but is there any source of info on sources for chicken meat where the conditions under which the condemned are kept are humane? For that matter, is there an information source for vegetarians who aren’t vegans, showing which outfits put their money where their mouth is and treat their birds and milk cows well?

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