A little hen. Picture her as she huddles in the crowded press of tattered and wounded bodies, crouched in the fetid stench of ammonia. Her mind may be whirling with complex thoughts and memories; but in her entire experience of this thing that others call ‘life’, she has never known freedom, or privacy, or peace.
She sits in her twilight world hemmed in by others on all sides, her frail little body toiling, convulsing yet again to lay her egg as it has for all the time she can remember. There are no days in this world, no nights. She has never known daylight or sunshine on her back, on the few sparse and tattered feathers that remain. She has never known the cool and quiet night, a peaceful roost, the quiet reassuring cluck of friends as evening falls.
She has never felt a breeze, has never known anything but the stench that comes from too many frail bodies, toiling, each one locked in her own world of misery, irritable in the crush of her fellow victims, her sore and mutilated beak useless for demanding some more space.
Time has no meaning here, unrelieved by joy or light, she will know only boredom, desperation and toil. Her cage is not of wire, or even of this place where only a mere handful of the prisoners can see ‘outside’. Her real prison is the convulsing body that our species has created for our selfishness; the body that labours bleakly day after lonely day.
If she could dream, she’d dream of sunshine on her back, a dusty patch to fluff herself. She’d dream of a private place, a place that only she knows. She’d dream of a few bits of straw and grass to make a nest. She’d dream of a world without the whirr of machines that roll away her eggs, each one encapsulating all her broken hopes.
We may know the price of a carton of eggs, of the products that contain these shattered dreams. But we know nothing of the cost; the true cost that she is paying every day with the weight of her despair. It doesn’t have to be like this; consuming eggs is not ‘natural’ and it should never be thought of as ‘normal’.
Be vegan. Start today. It’s simply the right thing to do.
- Talking about eggs – There’s an Elephant in the Room, the full blog
- A handy guide for vegan advocates discussing chickens and eggs
- 12 Egg Facts the Industry Doesn’t Want You to Know
- Enriched Cages and Embodied Prisons, A Report on the EU Directive Banning Battery Cages for Egg Laying Hens
- ‘Persistent Ovulator’ More about why eggs can never be an ethical foodstuff for humans
- The domestic chicken: Causes and consequences of an egg a day
- About chickens – info from the Humane Society with over 120 quoted sources
- What’s Wrong with Backyard Eggs
- Go Vegan World – about eggs
- A Hen’s Relationship with her Eggs
- Backyard Chicken Farming Leads to Abandoned Hens
- Cage-Free? Not free enough
- Backyard chickens: Expanding our understanding of ‘harm’
- CHICKEN-HUMAN RELATIONSHIPS: http://www.upc-online.org/thinking/chicken_human_relationships.pdf
Grateful thanks to Eden Farmed Animal Sanctuary Ireland for this image of Joy. She was one of the very few to be rescued and this is the film of the day it happened. Hens rescued from Enriched Battery Cages