I never thought about myself as being a hypocrite. I am not one of the people, who act like they care about the environment, but go around littering all over the place. I am a straight shooter -so to speak- I say what I mean and worse, I mean what I say.
Come to find out I am a hypocrite, it was thrown into my face by a younger couple that I don’t know. I have never met them and they don’t know me, still, their actions and the conversation they had, made me rethink something, that I thought was already crystal clear to everybody around me.
I am an animal lover. I love animals, I am a volunteer at a rescue shelter and I do everything I can when I hear about an animal in need.
On the contrary…I eat animals, pretty much all of them. I am not a vegetarian or vegan -yet- mainly because I love meat. A good, juicy steak makes me happy and let’s be honest, a piece of bacon now and then is almost as good as a piece of chocolate.
Recently I had to change my diet due to health issues and I started to research food and the food productions. If we are what we eat, then I am a human garbage disposal, and I am sick because of my food choices.
I don’t live under a rock -or so I thought- and I was aware that farming had changed over the years. The way we operated our farm back home, wouldn’t be profitable today. Things have changed and I knew about it, but I somehow decided to look the other way.
I decided to not care about the meat in the grocery store. It was already dead when I went there and I didn’t do it. Case closed. I bought our meat and I looked at two things only, and that was the price and the quality. If it was lean meat and the price was right, then it went home with me.
I knew about mass production and the cruelty in the butcher houses, but they aren’t really around me, so I am not confronted with them on a daily base. Someone said, “If slaughter houses would have glass walls, then we all would be vegetarians,” I suppose that right. That’s why they are hidden somewhere out of sight.
We had watched a movie just a few weeks back, a documentary about GMO foods and they had shown a chicken farm and it had made me swallow hard. I didn’t like what I saw, but pushed it on the side as usual. Life is easier that way, until…well, until I went grocery shopping.
I was almost done shopping;I just needed two dozen eggs and I would be on my way. I went to the dairy section in the back of the store -that’s where the eggs are- but couldn’t reach the eggs I wanted, because a young couple had parked their cart in my way and I listened to their conversation.
“Why don’t we buy the range free eggs,” she said and pointed to the egg carton.
“I am not spending $4 on some damn eggs,” he said and he grabbed the cheaper eggs.
“I don’t care if the cut their beaks off and mistreat them,” he said, “It’s not our problem.”
“But wouldn’t it be better to buy the other eggs,” she said and she looked sad, she knew that he wouldn’t go for that, I could see it in her face.
I just stood there and listened; I listened and felt busted. There I was standing in line to buy the same eggs. I always buy the cheaper ones as well, the store brand; it saves us a few bucks, what makes it right.
I don’t care, it’s not our problem, the sentence was echoing in my head.
I looked at them, said “Excuse me,” reached over and grabbed -for the first time ever- the carton with the eggs from cage-free chickens.
I gave him a go-to-hell look and walked to the checkout line.
At home I looked at my treasure, read the label and researched it a little bit more. There was even a phone number I could call and so I did. I wanted to know if I just spend a small fortune on eggs from happy chickens. Turns out the chickens might not be so happy, as I thought they should be.
Cage-free and range-free doesn’t mean automatically human.
Cage-free hens are spared several severe cruelties that are inherent to battery cage systems. But it would nevertheless be a mistake to consider cage-free facilities to necessarily be “cruelty-free.” Here are some of the more typical sources of animal suffering associated with both types of egg production:
- Both systems typically buy their hens from hatcheries that kill the male chicks upon hatching—more than 200 million each year in the United States alone.
- Both cage and cage-free hens have part of their beaks burned off, a painful mutilation.
- Both cage and cage-free hens are typically slaughtered at less than two years old, far less than half their normal lifespan. They are often transported long distances to slaughter plants with no food or water.
- While the vast majority of the battery and cage-free egg industry no longer uses starvation to force molt the birds, there are battery and cage-free producers alike who still use this practice.
So, while cage-free does not necessarily mean cruelty-free, cage-free hens generally have significantly better lives than those confined in battery cages. The ability to lay their eggs in nests, run and spread their wings are tangible benefits that shouldn’t be I underestimated. Source Human Society
I was not unhappy with the choice I had made in the store, but I wanted more. For Heaven’s sake we live in Ohio surrounded by farmland, it can’t be that hard to find happy chickens.
I called around and found a farm not far away from where we live. I asked about the chickens and the eggs and they even invited me to come by. Imagine that, I can pick up our own eggs. Go figure…that’s almost like at home 40 years ago.
Price for 12 eggs $4.
How can I care about animals, but not care about how they live and die until they end up on my dinner plate? How could I do that for so long?
Yes, money is an issue, but a few bucks more won’t kill us.
I was a hypocrite, there is no sugar coating. I had to hear it said out loud by someone else, to see my own mistakes. Funny how it works some time!