The Egg Industry Explained in Three Photos

Warning: The following images are disturbing. 

Many well-meaning people consume eggs with the notion that because they’re not meat, no animal was harmed in their production. Well, this is exactly what the egg industry would like consumers to believe. They even often go as far as “humane washing” eggs by using misleading product packaging with illustrations of happy hens in the grass, or by using clever labels. The truth is that all eggs sold at a grocery store were mostly likely products of immense suffering for animals—regardless of what’s on their packaging. 

Here are three images that the egg industry doesn’t want you to see: 

HENS LANGUISH WITHOUT VETERINARY CARE: Due to their unnatural living conditions, hens in the egg industry suffer from a variety of injuries and health problems. Caged hens are forced to live nearly their whole lives on wire floors that often cause their sensitive feet to become deformed. Due to the unnaturally excessive amount of eggs they lay, many suffer from brittle bones due to calcium deficiency. And, as pictured above, sometimes the birds become “egg bound,” meaning that an egg has become stuck inside the hen’s body. This is an extremely painful condition, but because animals in the egg industry typically receive little to no veterinary care, they will die in agony. 

BABIES GROUND UP, CRUSHED, OR SUFFOCATED: Male chicks born into the egg industry are considered useless because they can’t lay eggs and aren’t the breed used for meat. Therefore, shortly after hatching they’re tossed into trash bags to suffocate to death or they’re ground up or shredded alive. France recently committed to banning this practice and using in-ovo sexing technology instead, which allows workers to tell the sex of chicks before they hatch and are able to feel pain. Spain is also working toward a ban, but in the United States this practice is still commonplace.  

A LIFE OF MISERY: Most hens in the egg industry will likely never experience happiness. They’re hatched in incubators and will never meet their mothers. The ends of their sensitive beaks are seared off with a hot blade, and then, they’ll likely be crammed into battery cages with hardly enough space to spread their wings. The cages are often stacked on top of each other, allowing urine and feces to fall onto the birds in the lower cages.

In efforts to improve the lives of millions of hens around the world, Animal Equality’s corporate outreach team has been working with companies and has successfully convinced many major retailers to commit to using only “cage-free” eggs. This is a great step in the right direction, but all eggs sold at a grocery store are likely a product of immense suffering. Hens on “cage-free” farms are usually crammed by the thousands into filthy, dimly-lit sheds where they’re denied fresh air and sunlight. Their reproductive systems are exploited to make a profit for about two years. After that they’ll be sent to slaughter. 

YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE: The egg industry works hard to hide what it does, but now that you know the truth, what will you do? You can stop contributing to this cruelty simply by avoiding eggs. There are tons of easy ways to replace eggs when baking, and you can also enjoy one of the many scrambled egg substitutes on the market.