Chickens are near and dear to our hearts, so it is fitting that they are the topic of our first blog post. Here goes nothing…..
Most of us enjoy eating eggs, and we eat them routinely without thinking about where they came from. “Scrambled, poached or fried?” are common questions, not “free-range or battery cage?”.
Alberta Free Range hens playing in a straw bale in February
Battery cage hens, image borrowed from humanefood.ca
Hens from a battery egg barn live in cramped wire cages their entire life. They have as much room as your standard letter sized paper. They can’t sit comfortably, or even stretch their wings.
Over 90% of the eggs sold in Canada come from these hens.
It is all about the dollar. We want cheap food, so this is the factory system that gives us cheap food. I can’t help but ask, Is this worth it?
I have hens on my farm, and the cost to produce 1doz eggs is MORE than the price of commodity eggs at the grocery store. I get the warm and fuzzies about eating our farm eggs, but it doesn’t make any financial sense to raise my own food! Ethical sense yes, but nutritional sense also steps in and makes it all worth while….
We recently obtained the fatty acid test results from our Free Range Eggs. We have a favorable Omega 6 : Omega 3 ratio of 3:1 (YAY!) without even trying. Commodity eggs have 0.3% fish oil, and ours came in at a whopping 1.5%. Fish oil in eggs? Yup. That’s what happens when chickens eat grass, bugs, leftover vegetables and get a daily dose of fresh air and sunshine. Nature knows best. You get what you pay for.
I am not trying to sell you eggs, my girls already have their families that they lay for. I just want you to think about where your food comes from, because it most certainly didn’t originate from the Safeway shelf. My intent is simple, consumer buying patterns induce change…..
The choice is yours. Which production system do you prefer?
Vote with your fork, choose humanely raised eggs on your next shopping trip.
Egg Production choices (from davidsusuki.org)
"Cage-free" means hens are not confined to battery cages, but that's about it. They don't have access to the outdoors, and there are no assurances about what they are fed or what kinds of medications they are given. You might see this claim on all three types of non-battery cage production eggs — free-run, free-range and organic.
"Free-run" means chickens can move around in open concept barns, but they don't necessarily have access to the great outdoors and overcrowding may still be an issue.
"Free-range" means hens see the light of day (depending on the weather) and their feet actually come in contact with the earth.
Hens that produce certified organic eggs benefit from the highest welfare standards. For example, the SPCA Certified label assures eggs come from farms that have passed their animal welfare standards. Certified organic labels require the use of organic feed without growth hormones or antibiotics, too.