Consider the following 12 egg facts, most of which are common to all forms of egg farming:
1. The global egg industry destroys 6,000,000,000 healthy newborn male chicks every year. (1)
2. Male chicks born to egg-laying hens can not lay eggs, and are not the breed used for meat. Therefore, they are worthless to the egg industry.
3. Eggs sold under organic, free-range, and humane labels, and even chicks sold to backyard chicken keepers, also have their origins in these killing hatcheries. (2)
4. Newborn chicks are more intelligent, alert, and aware of their environment than human toddlers, according to recent scientific studies. (3) In fact, many traits that were previously thought to be exclusive to human / primate communication, cognition and social behavior have now been discovered in chickens.
5. Female chicks are sent to egg farms, where, due to decades of genetic manipulation and selective breeding, they produce 250 to 300 eggs per year. In nature, wild hens lay only 10 to 15 eggs annually. (4,5) Like all birds, they lay eggs only during breeding season and only for the purpose of reproducing.
6. This unnaturally high rate of egg-laying results in frequent disease and mortality.
7. 95% of all egg-laying hens in the U.S. – nearly 300 million birds – spend their lives in battery cages so small they cannot even stretch their wings. (6) Packed in at 5–10 birds per cage, they can only stand or crouch on the cages’ hard wires, which cut their feet painfully. In these maddening conditions, hens will peck one another from stress, causing injury and even death.
8. Rather than give them more room, farmers cut off a portion of their sensitive beaks without painkiller. A chicken’s beak is loaded with nerve endings, more sensitive than a human fingertip. Many birds die of shock on the spot.
9. Most hens on “cage-free” or “free range” operations are also debeaked, as these labels allow producers to confine thousands of birds inside crowded sheds. (7)
10. In a natural environment, chickens can live 10 to 15 years, but chickens bred for egg-laying are slaughtered, gassed or even thrown live onto “dead piles” at just 12 to 18 months when their egg production declines. (8)
11. During transport, chickens are roughly stuffed into crates and suffer broken legs and wings, lacerations, hemorrhage, dehydration, heat stroke, hypothermia, and heart failure; millions die before reaching the slaughterhouse. (9)