Once a yolk is fully developed, it is released from the ovary into the oviduct, a long, convoluted tube made up of five different sections: the infundibulum or funnel; the magnum; the isthmus; the uterus or shell gland; and the vagina. It’s easy and delicious to veganize your favorite egg dishes! The birds are crammed so tightly, they can not even spread their wings. More than 260 million are killed every year in the U.S. alone.4. Because male chicks will never lay eggs and are not the breed sold for meat (meat chicken breeds have been genetically manipulated to grow much more breast muscle and flesh), they are considered worthless to the egg industry, and so are disposed of as trash. Sweet Pea was a cherished Free from Harm rescue with an incredibly sweet disposition and tremendous zest for life. …We had a hen come in as she was weak, lethargic, and had an enlarged abdomen. Photo: Robert Grillo. This article by Ashley Capps originally appeared at Free From Harm and is reprinted with the author’s permission. Buying eggs is a tricky business. The longest stage of egg production occurs in the shell gland or uterus. If the egg is not fertilized, it is eliminated through menstruation, a process which exacts a heavy toll on the female body. Backyard chickens and free-range farm eggs are the most humane, but if … See also: The Happy Herbivore’s detailed Guide to Egg Substitutes for Baking and the all vegan baking website veganbaking.net. “Cage-free” only means that hens are not kept in cages. One was found to have 14 eggs in her. Even the word "humane" isn't USDA certified, so really any egg producer could print it on their packaging without many consequences.Â, Of course, if you can visit the farm or site where eggs are laid (such as your own or a neighbor's backyard), you can verify that the chickens are living in appropriate conditions, but for those in urban areas, coordinating a coop visit may not be in the realm of grocery-shopping possibility. Tried and tested: these easy vegan sunny side ups (pictured with vegan sausage) from The Non-Dairy Evolution Cookbook taste so much like the real thing you won’t believe your mouth. University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, Poultry Extension, Small and Backyard Flocks: Frequently Asked Questions. An HSUS Report: The Welfare of Animals In the Egg Industry: http://www.humanesociety.org/assets/pdfs/farm/welfare_egg.pdf. Sure, the chickens weren't in cages, but their living conditions were no better than if they were crammed into cages of a similarly puny size, Hsiung wrote in a contributed piece for the Huffington Post. Backyard Eggs provide at least 108 square feet of pasture per bird, so the hens have a huge amount of space to roam and eat grass, bugs, worms, etc. While many supermarkets are riddled with seemingly endless egg varieties — jumbo, super jumbo, cage free, all-natural, pasture raised, hormone free — even the packaged eggs marketed to look more humane are not necessarily so.Â. They’ve partnered with several small family farms throughout the country, which guarantees peace of mind for Costco and gives these smaller purveyors a steady stream of business. Photo: Robert Grillo. 5. Below are some quick facts, resources, and an article shedding light on the cruelties inherent in egg production and consumption. “Cage free” and “free range” eggs are better from a humane standpoint than battery caged eggs, but they’re not as much better as you might think. Thin-shelled eggs are common in layer hens because the birds do not have sufficient calcium stores to produce such a high rate of shells. The unnaturally high rates of labor intensive, energy depleting egg production that modern hens are forced to sustain means that even on small farms and backyard chicken operations, hens are virtual prisoners inside their own bodies. Encyclopedia of Life, About Chickens. Chickens were only ever domesticated for one reason: to exploit them. Cluster of developing egg yolks in hen ovary. The organic eggs from Costco brand Kirkland are Certified Humane: While not pasture raised, they’re cage- and antibiotic-free. "If you're going to eat an egg, eat the whole egg," she said. The third stop is the isthmus, a constricted portion of tissue where the inner and outer shell membranes of the developing egg are added over a period of 75 minutes. Hens ovulate for the same reason female humans do: to reproduce. Pastured eggs contain 10% less fat, 34% less cholesterol, 40% more Vitamin A and 4 times the amount of omega-3. These conventionally-raised, factory-farmed eggs come from birds who are kept in wire battery cages stacked by the thousands on top of each other inside warehouses without fresh air or sunlight. They’ve partnered with several small family farms throughout the country, which guarantees peace of mind for Costco and gives these smaller purveyors a steady stream of business. So if you don’t have a local source of eggs and know where your eggs are coming from, here is a short primer on egg carton lingo and what it means to the chicken. For more on hatcheries, please visit Mercy for Animals. Egg labels are often intentionally deceiving. Debeaking is standard practice in the egg industry, including on most cage-free and free-range egg farms. Backyard Eggs are also Certified Humane, and Non-GMO Verified (this is a big deal since most non-organic hens eat GMO feed). Certified Humane. The organic eggs from Costco brand Kirkland are Certified Humane: While not pasture raised, they’re cage- and antibiotic-free. They are either slaughtered for their meat—being paralyzed by electric shock and having their throats slit—or they are disposed of by being gassed or thrown alive onto dead piles. Pastured chicken meat contains 21% less fat and 50% more Vitamin A than the USDA standard. "Â, From a health perspective, Dana Hunnes, a dietitian at UCLA's Fielding School of Public Health, said in an email that she would choose Certified Humane "cage-free organic whenever possible." Retrieved 2/11/2014 from http://www2.ca.uky.edu/smallflocks/FAQ.html, 2. The next stage of egg construction occurs in the magnum, the largest section of the oviduct at 13 inches long. Their bodies could never sustain the physical depletion of laying the hundreds of eggs that domestic chickens have been forced to produce through genetic manipulation. Female human ovaries also contain developing eggs. The vagina also pushes the egg out through the vent or cloaca, the shared exit through which urine, feces, and eggs are excreted. (eating these little critters are what make the egg yolks so golden). If the egg becomes fertilized, it attaches to the wall of the uterus and begins to form an embyro.