The egg production process
Male chicks are considered useless and unwanted in the agricultural industry. The reason is simple - male chicks are not able to lay eggs and are not suitable for meat. So where do all male birds go after they’re born? There are different ways to “get rid” of those animals. Some are put on the industrial conveyor belt that heads for the macerator. As a result, male chicks are ground up while animals are still conscious and alive. Other industries take the male chicks, put them inside the plastic bags, and throw them away, so chicks are suffocated to death. There are other ways of killing “waste” chicks, such as shredding, crushing, or gassing them to death. Even if eggs are coming “cage-free,” “free-range,” or “organic,” it does not mean they were saved from the macerator.
Approximately 7 billion male chicks are killed around the world. These numbers do not include those hens that are not able to produce more eggs because of being exhausted and broken. Other countries with data available, for example, Australia kills more than 12 million male chicks per year. The United Kingdom kills about 30-40 million male birds annually. In the United States, approximately 300 million male chicks are culled per year.
Egg-laying hens are usually only 18 months old when they are sent to the slaughterhouses. Hens naturally have the instinct to lay eggs in privacy, to nest, and to sit on their eggs. They also communicate with their unborn babies, however, it is obvious that in the agricultural industry it is impossible because their babies are taken away immediately.
Egg-laying hens, besides the suffering that was mentioned above, experience broken bones. Hens are used to lay as many eggs as possible to supply the business, but “each eggshell requires a lot of calcium, and hens do not get enough in their diets, so their bodies use up the supplies in their bones.” As a result, one-third of all birds experience at least one fracture, and osteoporosis and broken bones are very common.
Last but not least, hens are deliberately injured. Because of the tiny cages or the crowd, chickens experience a lot of stress. This results in birds pecking at each other, which leads to injuries. This experienced stress of hens causes fewer eggs laid, so the industry does another customary husbandry practice that falls outside the scope of the law. This practice is debeaking, a process of cutting off the beak with a hot blade that causes acute and chronic pain.