2017-06-08 / Editorial

Not all chickens, eggs created equal


I am a sixth-grader at Lawn Avenue School. In science, we recently finished studying chickens, their eggs, and treatment of these animals. The chickens came from Casey Farm and we observed their development, while also learning how to take care of them. Our class learned many things about the circumstances chickens face in this world.

When you walk into a grocery store to purchase eggs, the buyer sees many different brands. You either are concerned with your best option or you are not because you think all eggs are the same. Each brand has different things going on behind the final product of its eggs. You might see things labeled “cage free,” “free range,” etc., but you probably don’t know the clear definition of those terms.

These brands want you to envision certain qualities about their eggs so you will buy them. For example, a brand that says they are “cage free” still might be putting the chickens in very small areas similar to cages, but they want you to believe they are free from cages and have lots of outdoor access. The chickens might not even get access to daylight. Again, these companies are using this as an advertising technique to get you to buy their eggs while they are treating these chickens in a vicious way.

If you presume life is hard for chickens when they are in “cage-free” environments, you should look at conventional/factory farms. In these chickens’ cases, they might never get to have their feet touch the grass because they are stuck in a battery cage their whole life, where they might not have enough room to lie down or even turn around. This is a cheaper way to farm eggs, but it is a very cruel way to treat the chickens. This method is so cruel that Britain banned factory farming.

In some cases, the chickens aren’t even for farming eggs. These chickens are sometimes raised in an inhumane way for your consumption. The farmers feed these helpless chickens chemicals to fatten them up to be eaten, when they still are in their childhood. This causes a small chick to appear as a full grown chicken. In these cages, the chickens are suffering from many things, like ammonia burns, heart attacks, broken bones and diseases that spread quickly throughout factory farms.

If you are searching for other options, there are “free-range” and “organic” eggs. With the “organic” option, chickens are raised outdoors without added drugs or preservatives and there are no hormones or drugs used in organic egg production. This gives the chickens a “healthy life” without being tempered by chemicals. Unlike conventional/factory farming, these chickens are free from lives in cages. Although there are many benefits for “organic” eggs, they are expensive compared to standard commercial eggs.

“Free-range” eggs are related to “organic” eggs. They generally are cheaper than “pasture-raised” eggs so if you want “organic”-like eggs at a lower price, search for “free-range” ones. The only difference between “free-range” and “organic” eggs is “free-range” chickens have access to a small, fenced in patch of cement that they could use if desired. Additionally, free-range chickens might eat non-organic feed and are sometimes given antibiotics or other drugs.

The last category eggs can be placed under is “pasture raised.” In this case, the farmers allow the chickens to roam freely and live as hens naturally do. These chickens have a genetically modified organism free diet that includes corn, wheat and soy. Also, these chickens get twice as much vitamin E and omega-3-acids than chickens in caged environments. Like organic, eggs, they also are expensive compared to the standard egg.

There are many kinds of eggs that you will find in a grocery store, so you have to think about the chickens that produce the eggs you love before you buy them, as well as the reliability of the company that is producing them.

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