The Hypocrisy of Cage Free Eggs
Yesterday I heard an interview with Moby on Animal Talk, a segment played on my local community radio station WMNF . Moby expressed the opinion that, while he is still vegan after almost 20 years, he’s become less “militant” about it. He supports some of the work of PeTA, and the work of the HSUS. He’s of the mind that HSUS negotiating with Ben and Jerry’s to use cage free eggs in their ice cream is a step in the right direction. He thinks that cage free eggs reduce the amount of suffering.
I think he is patently and dangerously wrong.
I think free range eggs reduce the suffering of those who have a slight amount of conscience, but not enough to make them take total responsibility for their actions. I think cage free eggs merely assuage collective guilt.
The reality is that cage free hens are still hens. Which is to say that if an egg intended for a cage free egg factory is hatched out as a male (ie potential rooster – whereby valueless) it will be just as dead when it is gassed, tossed through the chick blender, or left to suffocate in a barrel with its millions of counterparts.
The reality is that the access to the outside world for a cage free chicken is still controlled by humans, humans who will capitalize on the loopholes in the rules that allow them to proclaim the reproductive byproducts “cage free” when in truth, there is a very narrow window of opportunity for the chickens to access the outside, compounded by the “weather permitting” caveat.
I think we’ll see consumption of “cage free” eggs increase. Here’s my view of what this person will look like…..
S/he will be very busy patting her/himself on the back as being “an animal lover” who is willing to spend a few pennies more for cage free eggs at the local breakfast bistro. S/he’ll be all puffed up as s/he consumes aforementioned eggs and explains his/her reasoning to his/her friends at the table all happily consuming cheese omelets and buttered (whole wheat because it’s healthier) toast. S/he’ll eschew the bacon because “it’s full of nitrites and nitrates – which, as you may know, are linked to cancer,” all the while drinking coffee harvested by slaves and lightened with ORGANIC milk – because everyone knows that the cows that give organic milk have organic lives filled with organic and bucolic fields to run around in. That’s right, organic milk comes from HAPPY meat! And s/he’ll do all this consuming with a clear conscience because some of the chickens got to run outside… maybe, once or twice, before they are “spent” and are converted into pet food.