228 Million Eggs Recalled, What’s on Your Plate?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has seen a four-fold increase in reported cases of Salmonella Enteritidis in the past three months, amounting to more than 800 cases of this potentially deadly disease every month. Add to that the number of sickened individuals who failed to report their illness. While there are many different means of contracting Salmonella, health officials have attributed this massive outbreak to contaminated eggs from a factory farming powerhouse in Iowa. This revelation caused the Iowa producer to recall approximately 228 million eggs late last week.
This is in no way an isolated incident; there were dozens of recalls of animal products, everything from beef stew to chicken pot pie, between January and August of 2010 alone.
The news of the egg recall should come as no surprise to anyone who has seen the unimaginably filthy living conditions that hens in intensive agriculture are forced to endure. With tens of thousands of laying hens crammed into tiny battery cages, contamination is unavoidable. It only makes sense that these eggs would likely infect anyone who ingests them.
An egg that comes into contact with fecal matter or is layed by a sickly hen has an increased potential to be infected by the salmonella virus. In turn, these eggs infect unsuspecting consumers. And if you think you can read the label on the carton to easily avoid a certain production company – think again. These 228 million eggs were sold under 13 different brands across the US. Are consumers really willing to take a blind leap of faith when it comes to their health?
Paul McCartney wisely stated, “If slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be a vegetarian.” When the FDA urges the recall of 228 million eggs after an unprecedented salmonella outbreak, shouldn’t everyone go vegan? If the suffering of billions of animals each year isn’t enough to make people rethink their diet, maybe this alarming outbreak will sway people to stop consuming animal products.
Can you even imagine tens of thousands of animals living on top of one another in a putrid, window-less enclosure? The workers in these facilities wear hazmat-like suits complete with respirators and thick rubber gloves. I don’t know about you, but I’m not inclined to eat anything that comes from a place where you have to wear full body armor just to walk through the door.
Nor am I inclined to eat anyone who suffered as these defenseless animals do. Hens in laying facilities live a truly miserable, frustrated existence. By design, these hell emporiums make it impossible for the chickens to do what comes naturally to them: root in the dirt, spread their wings and peck through the grass for feed. Instead, they live covered in their own feces, often forced to share cages with the bodies of their deceased neighbors.
The insatiable desire for increased production leads factory farms to pump their hens full of hormones and antibiotics to stave off constant sickness. These unnatural conditions can lead to illness in the birds, which increases likelihood of infected eggs. All in all, it’s the perfect storm of misery and disease. Why support this cruel, unhealthy industry? I urge you all to share these undeniable facts with your family, friends and coworkers and urge them to consider their diet choices, and educate themselves about where their food comes from. Let’s help create a healthy world free of suffering and disease for both human and non-human animals.