The campaign to promote veganism by exposing the destructive reality of the animal agriculture industry.

‘The Twin Crises’: Eggs are expensive for all the wrong reasons


Very little media reporting on the bird flu outbreak has asked questions about what’s happening to the millions of factory-farmed birds killed in depopulations. It is instead fixated on consumer affordability and on how to prevent bird flu from jumping to humans.

MARINA BOLOTNIKOVA: Many people now know about the cruelty of factory farming, which is how almost all US meat and eggs are produced, but they’re reluctant to connect it to the cheap food on their plates. It’s not surprising that consumers are caught in this cognitive dissonance, yet I’ve still been surprised to see it reflected by so many journalists, both national and local, in the last several weeks. One Atlantic writer, for example, remarked in a piece recently that she was “indignant” to spend $6 on a dozen eggs. But how much is too much to pay for the product of an animal’s indignity and suffering? This view — that we have an inherent right to cheap animal products — is symptomatic of our inability to distinguish between a necessity and a luxury when it comes to the products of animal agriculture. In a fairer world eggs would be more expensive — but right now they’re expensive for the wrong reasons.

For the last year, bird flu has torn through egg farms, many of which warehouse hundreds of thousands or even millions of hens in one place, confining them in tiny, vertically stacked cages that don’t allow them enough space to spread their wings. When even a single case of flu is detected at a facility, all the animals have to be depopulated, and despite many outlets inaccurately terming this process “euthanasia,” the methods being used to mass kill birds are not pretty; the 2.8 million hens near me, like millions of others, were killed using ventilation shutdown, essentially a fancy term for heatstroke. All this has created a shortage of egg-laying hens and an opportunity for egg companies to increase prices.

Very little US media reporting on the outbreak has asked questions about what’s happening to the millions of factory-farmed birds killed in depopulations. The national conversation has instead fixated on consumer welfare and, more recently, on how to prevent bird flu from jumping to humans and turning into a catastrophic pandemic…

If eggs were priced at their true environmental and animal welfare cost, they’d surely be even more expensive than they are now. At a minimum, we would outlaw the worst depopulation methods and stop bailing out the factory farm industry for the cost of mass killing animals during emergencies… We’d also phase out factory farms, freeing hens from the dismal battery cages where most of them are now kept and prevented from expressing natural behaviors. We’d ban the routine use of antibiotics to prevent disease in farm animals, which is already contributing to antibiotic resistance. We’d slow down reckless high slaughter-line speeds, which endanger meatpacking workers. We’d stop excluding birds from the Humane Slaughter Act, which, although currently poorly enforced, at least notionally requires that distress during slaughter be minimized. We’d stop effectively exempting the livestock industry from landmark environmental quality laws like the Clean Water Act. The list goes on. SOURCE…