A Humane Egg - New York Times Editorial

Discussion in 'Random Ramblings' started by jjthinkagain, Jul 12, 2010.

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  1. jjthinkagain

    jjthinkagain Chirping

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    We are egregiously slow in our evolution but here is a baby step.
    JJ (aka jjthink most of the time....BYC doesn't recognize me on my office computer)

    Editorial
    A Humane Egg
    Published: July 11, 2010

    The life of animals raised in confinement on industrial farms is slowly improving, thanks to pressure from consumers, animal rights advocates, farmers and legislators. In late June, a compromise was reached in Ohio that will gradually put an end to the tiny pens used for raising veal calves and holding pregnant sows, spaces so small the animals can barely move.

    In California last week, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a law requiring that all whole eggs sold in the state conform to the provisions of Proposition 2, the humane farming law that was embraced by state voters in a landslide in 2008. By 2015, every whole egg sold in the state must come from a hen that is able to stretch her wings, standing or lying, without touching another bird or the edges of her cage. This requirement would at least relieve the worst of the production horrors that are common in the industry now.

    Since California does not produce all the eggs it eats, this new law will have a wider effect on the industry; every producer who hopes to sell eggs in the state must meet its regulations.

    Heartening as these developments are, there is also strong resistance from the food industry and from fake consumer-advocacy groups that are shilling for it.

    In fact, there is no justification, economic or otherwise, for the abusive practice of confining animals in spaces barely larger than the volume of their bodies. Animals with more space are healthier, and they are no less productive.

    Industrial confinement is cruel and senseless and will turn out to be, we hope, a relatively short-lived anomaly in modern farming.

    A version of this editorial appeared in print on July 12, 2010, on page A18 of the New York edition.
     

  2. Tigerjane

    Tigerjane Songster

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    NYT is where I first found out about the backyard chicken movement, four years ago. It had never occurred to me that I could keep farm-type animals without having a whole huge farm. My favorite newspaper, and they've been reporting on the slow/whole food movement regularly for some time, without any condescension. Thanks for posting this!
     
  3. Katy

    Katy Flock Mistress

    Hmmmmm....I wonder what the activists response will be when they see all the piglets laid on and killed by the sows when they're put into the bigger pens? There's a reason they use the smaller farrowing crates for the sows.....it's because the sows don't give a hoot if they lay on every piglet they give birth to.
     
  4. Sunny Side Up

    Sunny Side Up Count your many blessings...

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    This is going to be an interesting development to follow. Certainly we want our livestock to be treated humanely, but I wonder if there isn't a disparity of perception between the egg producers and the general public as to what constitutes humane conditions. I imagine most egg producers want to provide the optimal care for their layers in order to get the most output from them. And there are also USDA inspectors & veterinarians monitoring their conditions.

    I wonder how this bill is going to affect the price of eggs in the market, the price of everything made with eggs in the state. How much tax revenue Calif will lose when bakeries & food manufacturing plants move out of state to avoid these new regulations. I wonder just how much it would cost an egg producer to change their cages to suit these new laws, they would need larger buildings, more land, more power for heating & cooling, more machinery for transporting feed & eggs, and more. It might just be easier for them to move to another state. Or quit the business, sell their land to developers and we'll have to rely on more foreign countries for their imported eggs.

    I wonder how these laws will affect those who rely on inexpensive & affordable eggs to nourish their families, for school breakfasts, for restaurants who serve low-cost egg sandwiches and breakfast bargains.

    When I first began keeping chickens other folks would say to me "Wow, you're going to save a TON of money on your grocery bill now!" Those of us who keep chickens for their eggs know that isn't true, though we sure wish it were. We know that the only way to produce low-cost eggs would be to keep chickens in large numbers, far more than our backyards could maintain. Anyone who tries to sell the eggs from their backyard flock in order to break even, or make a little profit, knows how difficult that is to realize.

    We who have the privilege of keeping our own backyard chickens in the most ideal of conditions are the fortunate few. There are others with the budget to pay for eggs from chickens kept in similar conditions. However, the majority of the population relies on more affordable fare. I don't think it was necessary, and perhaps not wise, to impose these regulations by law on the entire state. Instead, the public could have voted with their dollars for eggs raised in the conditions they preferred, and let the free market adjust to accomodate their choices.
     

  5. Miltonchix

    Miltonchix Taking a Break

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    Quote:Wife and I have figured it out. Our eggs cost us about $4 dozen. But we do tend to spoil the hens with fresh greens/fruits from the store during the winter.
     
  6. jjthinkagain

    jjthinkagain Chirping

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    Having personally witnessed the utterly horrific conditions many a chicken must endure in factory farming situations, I would submit that no human deserves to reap bennies (either monetary or full stomach) from any beings suffering this much. Sadly, the free market has just been too glacially slow and legions of beings have suffered unspeakably cruel existences while waiting for us to evolve. Unacceptable, to me anyway. I would cheerfully work an extra hour a week, or whatever it took to ensure that I could buy products from humanely treated beings. And if I was someone unwilling to do that, then I should eat something else. If we humans were to hold ourselves to higher standards, it would work itself out.
    I know most folks here, whether seeing this thread or not, are higher caliber souls who know it's right to be kind, but unfortunately not everybody is that way or would ever be that way voluntarily. [​IMG]
    JJ
     
  7. This is going to be an interesting development to follow. Certainly we want our livestock to be treated humanely, but I wonder if there isn't a disparity of perception between the egg producers and the general public as to what constitutes humane conditions. I imagine most egg producers want to provide the optimal care for their layers in order to get the most output from them. And there are also USDA inspectors & veterinarians monitoring their conditions.

    Yeah, but this is the same government that was inspecting and regulating BP, and look where that got us.

    I wonder how this bill is going to affect the price of eggs in the market, the price of everything made with eggs in the state. How much tax revenue Calif will lose when bakeries & food manufacturing plants move out of state to avoid these new regulations. I wonder just how much it would cost an egg producer to change their cages to suit these new laws, they would need larger buildings, more land, more power for heating & cooling, more machinery for transporting feed & eggs, and more. It might just be easier for them to move to another state. Or quit the business, sell their land to developers and we'll have to rely on more foreign countries for their imported eggs.

    I wonder how these laws will affect those who rely on inexpensive & affordable eggs to nourish their families, for school breakfasts, for restaurants who serve low-cost egg sandwiches and breakfast bargains.

    Agree here. If they're going to have to buy more land, build more buildings, completely redesign their pen systems, redesign egg collecting systems, and so on they may as well move to another state and then they won't have this issue. That's how many jobs lost to Cali... and given to, say Wyoming, that can ill afford to lose. The idea of importing eggs is pretty scary... is there anything we won't import in the end?

    When I first began keeping chickens other folks would say to me "Wow, you're going to save a TON of money on your grocery bill now!" Those of us who keep chickens for their eggs know that isn't true, though we sure wish it were. We know that the only way to produce low-cost eggs would be to keep chickens in large numbers, far more than our backyards could maintain. Anyone who tries to sell the eggs from their backyard flock in order to break even, or make a little profit, knows how difficult that is to realize.

    Hehe, yup, understand that one all right. And because of that I know that more space, bigger pens, etc is going to cost, and as above, for the business it might be cheaper just to start from scratch/buy out an old one in another state than it is to totally retool within California... guess it depends on how much of their product is sold there, vs other states without this rule.

    We who have the privilege of keeping our own backyard chickens in the most ideal of conditions are the fortunate few. There are others with the budget to pay for eggs from chickens kept in similar conditions. However, the majority of the population relies on more affordable fare. I don't think it was necessary, and perhaps not wise, to impose these regulations by law on the entire state. Instead, the public could have voted with their dollars for eggs raised in the conditions they preferred, and let the free market adjust to accomodate their choices.

    That would be great... it's what our country was founded on. Gov't keeping their nose, and any other appendages both organic and electronic, out of a person's business and home... unfortunately that is just NOT the case anymore. Supply and Demand used to work... but now many just listen to what they are told (not just by Gov't but by anyone who catches their attention, millions per second in Super Bowl advertising tells us that) and don't bother to do anything thinking, or figure it's not worth the effort... you know, such a little thing like this... [​IMG]

    Best we can do is educate ourselves, our children, and maybe even other family, friends, neighbors and hope that the stupid ones quit breeding.... not likely, but we can hope.
     

  8. Tigerjane

    Tigerjane Songster

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    If the price goes way up, it'll just encourage more people to get backyard chickens! [​IMG]
     
  9. ^A good point. Darn shame I can't have a rooster, and that stupid limit of 4, and that GSLs won't breed true, or I (and others) could have a real racket when the yolk hits the fan.
     

  10. michickenwrangler

    michickenwrangler To Finish Is To Win

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    What are regulations about clipping wings or pinioning wings? That would be a way around the cage size. Most legislators probably have no idea the wingspan of a chicken. Clipping wings could take easily 6 inches off the span and allow for smaller cages.

    The law isn't "complete" until 2015, 5 years away so it will be awhile before we see this new law in action
     
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