BY SOFO ARCHON
The majority of people are unaware of what exactly is taking place in order for the foods they eat to end up on their plate.
This is particularly obvious by the fact that most people around the world, and in particular in America, choose to consume eggs without end, not knowing about the suffering and brutal death that billions of chickens have to undergo just so that we humans can acquire some temporarily pleasure from consuming their by-products.
In order to help shed some light on the issue, I would like to present you here with eight disgusting facts that reveal the shocking truth about how eggs are usually produced and which most Americans don’t know, taken from Peter Singer’s and Jim Mason’s book The Ethics of What We Eat.
- American egg-producers typically keep their hens in bare wire cages, often crammed eight or nine hens to a cage so small that they never have room to stretch even one wing, let alone both. The space allocated per hen, in fact, is even less than broiler chickens get, ranging from 48 to 72 square inches. Even the higher of these figures is less than the size of a standard American sheet of typing paper.
- In such crowded conditions, stressed hens tend to peck each other — and the sharp beak of a hen can be a lethal weapon when used relentlessly against weaker birds unable to escape.
- To prevent this, producers routinely sear off the ends of the hens’ sensitive beaks with a hot blade — without an anesthetic. 
- As for the cages themselves, they are in long rows, sometimes stacked three and four tiers high. That way, in a single building, tens of thousands of hens can be fed, watered, and have their eggs collected by machines.
- Artificial lighting is used to mimic the longest days of summer, to induce the hens to lay the maximum number of eggs all year round. A year of this leaves the hens debilitated, and they start to lay fewer eggs.
- Many American producers then cut off their food and starve them for as long as two weeks until they go into molt, which means they lose their feathers and cease to lay eggs.
- Some die during this period, and the survivors lose about 30 percent of their body weight.
- They are then fed again, and their laying resumes for a few more months before they are killed.
Do Chickens Feel Pain?
There are some people who argue that animals like chicken are insensitive to pain and hence it doesn’t really matter if we torture and kill them for our own benefit. Science, however, disagrees, and here are some solid scientific facts on the matter, as also mentioned in the same book.
- Chickens have nervous systems similar to ours, and when we do things to them that are likely to hurt a sensitive creature, they show behavioral and physiological responses that are like ours.
- When stressed or bored, chickens show what scientists call “stereotypical behavior.” or repeated futile movements, like caged animals who pace back and forth.
- When they have become acquainted with two different habitats and find one preferable to the other, they will work hard to get to the living quarters they prefer.
- Lame chickens will choose food to which painkillers have been added; the drug evidently relieves the pain they feel and allows them to be more active. 
When Are We Going to Stop Animal Cruelty?
Mahatma Gandhi once said that “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” By that standard, it seems that all current nations are very backward.
We like to say that we humans are moral, benevolent beings, but our actions contradict our claims. After so many years of evolution, we humans are still violent, acquisitive, competitive, and above all, stupid, who haven’t learnt to live in peace and harmony with our fellow human beings, the animals, and the rest of the natural world.
Unless we start treating every sentient being with compassion, care, and respect, we are only deceiving ourselves by saying that we are moral and humane. And before we do so, we won’t live in peace, since, as Pythagoras said about 2,500 years ago, “For as long as men massacre animals, they will kill each other.
1. Ian Duncan, “Welfare Problems of Poultry,” in John Benson and Bernard Rollin, eds., The Well-Being of Farm Animals, Iowa State Press, Ames, 2004.
2. T. C. Danbury, et al., “Self-selection of the analgesic drug carprofen by lame broiler chickens,” Veterinary Record, 146 (March 11, 2000) pp. 307–11.
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