Chickens are social and affectionate creatures who form close bonds with one another and mourn the loss of friends. Unfortunately, they are among the most abused farmed animals. Whether bred for eggs or meat, chickens suffer intensive confinement and painful mutilation beginning on they day they hatch.
Meet Louis (pictured below), a rescued chicken who was born into the egg industry. Thankfully, Louis is now living freely at a sanctuary, but each year millions of male chicks just like Louis are killed shortly after hatching by being suffocated in trash bags or thrown alive into a grinding machine. Unable to lay eggs, these helpless animals are deemed worthless by the egg industry. Like other chickens, Rex enjoys foraging, sunbathing, and exploring.
Over 95% of the eggs produced in the United States come from hens confined to battery cages where they spend the entirety of their lives unable to move around or spread their wings. Broiler chickens suffer similarly deplorable conditions, crammed into filthy warehouses with thousands of other birds. Overcrowded and deprived of everything that is natural to them, pecking becomes a common method of coping with the unbearable stress. As a result, the painful procedure of debeaking—slicing off half of their sensitive, nerve-filled beaks— is standard practice on most farms.
Meat and egg products with labels such as “free range” and “cage-free” are very deceiving. The standards for these labels are loosely defined and poorly enforced. Chickens on free-range farms commonly suffer the same mutilation and similar atrocious living conditions. Additionally, on both free-range and standard farms, hens are considered ‘spent’ when their egg production declines after only two years, at which point they callously disposed of and sent to slaughter. Broiler chickens live even shorter lives, being slaughtered at a mere 45 days old.
All birds are excluded from the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act, so chickens are subjected to an extremely terrifying and painful death. Not only are they fully conscious when their throats are cut, many are screaming and thrashing when they are submerged in the scalding tank.
All of us can play a role in ending this suffering by cooking with egg and meat replacements. Whether making a sandwich or baking a cake, all of your favorite foods can be made cruelty-free with simple substitutions. Check out our free Veg Starter Guide, and try out some delicious cruelty-free meals!