The Indecency of Eating Eggs: Industrial Waste

chicks

Those beautiful, downy little newborn chicks, freshly hatched from their prenatal calcium carbonate home, are amazing beings. They come fully equipped with a most sensitive beak which will allow them to hunt for food, two strong legs with claws for scratching the earth, and a body full of tiny feathers which will eventually grow into beautiful plumage to protect the new little life from the elements. They have the ability to make the most pleasant chirping noises, so their mums may find them if they lose their way. They will have the ability to be aerodynamic, to live peacefully in community, and to be part of a family. They will require little on which to live, just a few things scratched from the earth and a humble kind of shelter. They are born into an hierarchy that may seem archaic through our anthropo-centric lens, but the paternal rooster looks after his flock and finds them food, calling to them, making certain they eat even before he does himself. The mother hen is protective of her brood; they stay close to her for warmth and safety.

The Brief Life of a Hatchling

Because some human decided to steal their eggs and lived to tell of the deed, billions of their brethren are snatched from their natural lifecycle and used in the cruel and profitable egg industry. The babies are hatched into plastic trays, without a mother to help them learn to grow, to talk to them, comfort them, and help them learn their place in the world. They are then put on an industrial conveyer belt, and anyone of them who is suspected of the crime of masculinity is tossed down an industrial chute, to become industrial waste. They are either sent to a mascerator that grinds them from life to lifeless mass, or puts them into a trash box where they slowly suffocate as more and more of their fellow roosterlings are tossed down the same chute. Imagine putting a puppy or a human infant into a wood chipper – this is what is happening to the newborn male chicks in the standard practice of the egg industry. This is happening to some of the most harmless and endearing creatures on earth, little downy beings that are often portrayed in the nurseries of our own infants, symbols of innocence, gentleness, and vulnerability.

The Waste of Industrial Farming

Any practice that includes the use  of others against their will, the theft of the infants of other species, condemnation to either a life in a toxic environment, continual assault on their bodily integrity, slaughter while fully conscious while hanging by their legs, or instant cruel and painful death as a brand new hatchling  –  any such complete disrespect should be condemned for what it is. It is an insult to the natural order and to all things decent.

A Few Hands

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Billions upon billions of animals are sacrificed every year in a myriad of ways for one reason only: for profit. Their lives are ended in slaughterhouses, or they are imprisoned, are terrified, are separated and forced into a bleak existence, or are fed inappropriate food that causes great pain and distress: or are forced to perform for someone else’s amusement, all for that  singular  purpose.  The bulk of humanity is fed an unhealthy diet, are fed diets of not only animal products but are fed a constant diet of misinformation and deceit. There are pictures of happy cows chatting with one another in green fields and cartoon images of cows, chickens, and lambs. Our children are fed diets of speciesism in every cartoon, movie, and video game that references a typical diet. The bizarre and destructive practice of consuming animals for food, clothing, sport, entertainment or diversion becomes normalized.

A Few Hands Promote Profits, A Few Hands Promote Peace

Yet it is only a few hands that actually benefit from these deceptions. The rest of us are left with a devastated environment, a warming planet, and a sickened soul. We are left with poor health and chronic illnesses that perpetuate the cycle by the use of more animals for research, for medicine, for human replacement body parts. The mountain of dead bones from so many suffering and sacrificed lives continues to grow even as our future and our spirits shrink.  We have become divorced from the natural world, while an ever increasing anxiety, violence, and desperation grows within us.

Meanwhile, it is only a few hands that are beginning now to reach out to one another to form a network of information. These few hands are working to shine a light in the dark corners of animal commodification. They are the ones who hand out leaflets about ending all animal commodification, who are asking for a new vision; who debate; who moderate forums and read the latest books on animal rights. Who adopt animals who would otherwise lose their one chance at life; who rescue animals destined for the death houses; who protest, who create films and documentaries; who write the books; who build the sanctuaries. They are only a few souls amid the several billions of human beings. But they are the visionaries, the ones who refuse to accept the status quo as inevitable, who dare to believe other humans can change as they have changed, and they are helping to start one of the most significant changes in human history, a movement that says no more exploitation, no more speciesism, no sexism, no racism. A few hands reach out for justice for all beings.

There are only a few hands at either end of the spectrum; one group of hands reaches out for a few pieces of gold, the other offers peace. Which one will you grasp?

Guilt, Growth Hormones, and the Tour de France

bike-chainThere has been a lot of buzz around the blogosphere lately about the charges that the recent Tour de France winner, Alberto Contodor, tested positive for a controlled substance.  The substance in question is Clenbuterol HCl, a beta-androgenic agonist that is illegal in the U.S. and Europe.  This same chemical, however, is reportedly frequently found on feedlots nonetheless. The Clenbuterol is used for increased animal growth for show animals and, while illegal for farmed animals, is still often found in feedlots.  Clenbuterol is particularly known to be used to improve the quality of meat in veal calves. Clenbuterol is a growth hormone.

Guilty of Blood Doping?

While the amount of Clenbuterol found in Contodor’s blood was so microscopic that it is doubtful it could have had any performance enhancing properties, it still may have violated the rules of the road. According to the World Anti-Doping Code:

2.1.1 It is each Athlete’s personal duty to ensure that no Prohibited Substance enters his or her body. Athletes are responsible for any Prohibited Substance or its Metabolites or Markers found to be present in their Samples. Accordingly, it is not necessary that intent, fault, negligence or knowing Use on the Athlete’s part be demonstrated in order to establish an antidoping violation under Article 2.1.

According to Contodor, he took no known substance knowingly, but did ingest some animal flesh that may have been contaminated with Clenbuterol when someone brought meat across the border from Spain into France and he ate that meat. But unknowingly ingesting the substance will not expiate Contodor’s possible guilt  ”In any of the anti-doping programs, including at the professional level, athletes are responsible for what goes in their bodies,” said U.S. Anti-Doping Agency president Travis Tygart in an interview last week unrelated to Contador. “Otherwise you’d have every person playing sports attempting to make that claim.”**

Is Contodor Guilty? Of Animal Cruelty, Yes

With the extensive use of chemicals, hormones, and antibiotics in animal agriculture, it would prove prudent for an athlete to ingest an all plant-based diet. Brendan Brazier, author of Thrive Fitness and creator of Vega nutritional supplements, ascribes to a vegan lifestyle and has found it to improve his overall fitness. One thing is certain, whether Contodor is guilty of blood doping or not, he is definitely guilty of creating a demand for animal flesh, which in turns creates endless hours of suffering and torment for the animal whose body was used for the pleasure of his palate. Clenbuterol is often used to increase the quality of veal, a product which results from the separation of a mother and her infant, the torment of both animals, and the confinement and cruel death of the young calf. With animal agriculture leading to global warming, noxious air quality, water contamination, habitat destruction, animal suffering and death, there are more reasons than avoiding false positives on blood doping tests to give the nasty stuff up as too toxic and too immoral to ingest.

Alberto Contodor: Time to go vegan. Way, way past time.

Addtional articles:

**NY Daily News

Wired.com