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Posted on Sun, Mar 31, 2013 : 7 a.m.

Alternative options available for those looking for a more hen-friendly Easter

By Letters to the Editor

Today, on Easter, millions of eggs will be dyed with vibrant colors and eagerly sought after in hunts. While the eggs often look nice on the outside, their pretty shells hide the cruelty that went into producing them.

Borden - Easter Eggs dyed with natural colors

Plastic eggs are refillable and can be used year after year in place of real eggs.

Corinna Borden | Contributor

Each year, 280 million laying hens endure a nightmare that lasts for two years. At just a few days old, a large portion of each hen's beak is cut off with a burning-hot blade, and no painkillers are used. After enduring these mutilations, hens are shoved into tiny wire "battery" cages, which measure roughly 18-by-20 inches and hold five to 11 hens, each of whom has a wingspan of 32 inches. The birds are crammed so closely together that these normally clean animals are forced to urinate and defecate on one another.

After two years in these conditions, the hens' bodies are exhausted, and their egg production drops. These "spent" hens are shipped to slaughterhouses, where roughly 29 percent of them will be suffering from broken bones resulting from neglect and rough treatment.

What I'm describing is not an exception; it's standard industry procedure. Eggs labeled "free-range" or "cage-free," (not subject to independent third party certification or USDA standards) are often from chickens who endure just as much suffering and end up at the same slaughterhouses as their battery-caged counterparts.

The best way to eliminate this cruelty is to stop purchasing eggs. There are many egg-free alternatives that don't harm animals, including using plastic eggs (which can be refilled year after year) at hunts and wooden eggs (available at any craft store) for decorating. It's easy to have a compassionate Easter free of animal suffering.

Kate Brindle




Tue, Apr 2, 2013 : 1:37 a.m.

Being a human living in the USA you are among the most wasteful people on the planet, guaranteed. Unfortunetly there's very little you can do to stop it. From the over-packaging of products to the suburban sprawl that forces you to drive miles to buy groceries or go to work, the only solution on a personal level to end your own wastefulness that helps cause the death of the earth itself every day is to end your own existence. In light of all that, realize that limiting your use of eggs will have very little impact on anything.

Superior Twp voter

Tue, Apr 2, 2013 : 4:32 a.m.

Bwaaa-ha-ha-ha! I gave you a "thumbs-up" for delightful sarcasm!!!

Simon Green

Mon, Apr 1, 2013 : 5:04 p.m.

Great Job! That's the best April Fool's Day article I've seen!


Mon, Apr 1, 2013 : 12:08 p.m.

Thank you, Kate, for submitting this. While it is sad to see the hatred and ignorance spewing from the trolls in the comments, it's nice to know there might be others out there who read this and might be encouraged to make better educated and kinder decisions. I do agree with some of the comments that eating eggs from local farms is a better solution than supporting factory farms, but such options are not available to everyone due to price or location. It also does not address the question of whether we should be farming animals at at all when we can live happy, healthy lives without it. I've been a vegan for over two years and I've never felt better.


Mon, Apr 1, 2013 : 6:28 a.m.

This is why I don't buy or consume eggs. My issue is the factory farm industry. My mother-in-law has chickens and enjoys their eggs, which I personally think is cool.

haulin donkey

Mon, Apr 1, 2013 : 3:32 a.m.

Most of the above opinion is true. I know this because in my youth I lived on a commercial egg farm. Some facts are questionable. burning the beaks are fore the protection of the other chickens and should hurt no more than clipping your fingernails. We only put four chickens in a cage, eleven would not fit even if you poked them in with a stick. The last time I checked poultry did not urinate like other animals. Don't misunderstand me, I do not like the way the chickens are raised. The dirty little secret is that most Americans want cheep food at any cost. I could tell you more but it might make you sick.


Mon, Apr 1, 2013 : 3:28 a.m.

Kate, while I disagree with what you have stated in this article, you do have the right to have such an opinion. However, I would be interested in viewing the sources you used in preparing this statement to us readers. You did a good job with defining "free range" and industry standards but to me those links do not support your position on why we should not eat eggs. I believe that in order for your article to be taken seriously you need to have credible citations that back up your assertions.


Mon, Apr 1, 2013 : 2:04 a.m.

while plastic is not the greatest substitute the article does address correctly a real issue. commercial animal farming is extremely cruel regardless of the animal being farmed. it can be done in more humane ways. cruelty is wrong no matter how you slice dice and fry it. just wrong.


Mon, Apr 1, 2013 : 1:29 a.m.

Someone always has to rain on someone else's parade.


Sun, Mar 31, 2013 : 11:55 p.m.

As the parent of four, I have been to a lot of Easter egg hunts in a number of parts of our country. Maybe I need to expand my horizons, but I have never seen chicken eggs at an egg hunt. A more appropriate commentary would have addressed the hazards of using the plastic eggs produced in China that are covered with poisonous chemicals that need to be washed off before your child eats candy that you have put in them. Oh, wait, I'm not suppose to give my kids candy either.


Sun, Mar 31, 2013 : 10:24 p.m.

Kate and curious.I have the perfect solution.You raise happy go lucky chickens and I'll buy every single egg they produce.As long as you charge me Kroger prices.See....I'll be happy,you'll be happy and the chickens will be ?


Sun, Mar 31, 2013 : 8:50 p.m.

I guess the message here (from the comments at least) is no one should ever speak the truth about anything "unsavory", especially near a holiday. The commenters here could care less about where their food comes from but I'm not sure that most of the people are as cavalier as they are. I find people from all walks of life are waking up and saying "wait a minute, something isn't right about our whole food system. Maybe I should care how the animals that I consume are treated". Why care about your dogs and cats but not the animals that feed you. Oh, forget it. Why bother even responding.


Mon, Apr 1, 2013 : 1:57 a.m.

"Oh, forget it. Why bother even responding." Best part of your post. Please consider following your own advice.


Sun, Mar 31, 2013 : 10:42 p.m.

Your interpretation of the comments is hysterically inaccurate.


Sun, Mar 31, 2013 : 9:17 p.m.

Do honestly think that she didn't know full well what the comments would be like ? on Easter of all days ?.There have been may articles about back yard chickens if this were written then I promise you there would not have been this type of reaction.Here's a idea. If you don't like it don't eat them


Sun, Mar 31, 2013 : 8:53 p.m.

On more thing. The woman who wrote this article did not deserve all of the ridicule that she got. I am wondering if it was printed now just to have that happen. If so, it was wrong to do it


Sun, Mar 31, 2013 : 8:11 p.m. shouldn't have published this. It's only here for shock value. And, it's inaccurate. smh


Sun, Mar 31, 2013 : 10:05 p.m.

I never said anything about being silly, and my comment isn't intended to make you laugh. I think this letter is ridiculous, pretentious, and (I will say it again) inaccurate. It is entirely possible to enjoy eggs from chickens that live happy lives frolicking around in the sunshine and playing chicken hide and go seek. Not everyone who eats eggs contributes to commercial farming. To even suggest it is moronic. And, quite frankly, I don't appreciate being scolded from someone I have never met for something I do not do.


Sun, Mar 31, 2013 : 8:45 p.m.

How silly is your comment? Oh my dare they?


Sun, Mar 31, 2013 : 4:22 p.m.

"Hen-friendly" I'm about to lose my quiche breakfast!


Sun, Mar 31, 2013 : 4:11 p.m.

Thank you Kate for your timely letter. We (Americans) live in a very self-centered world and the commenters here are no exception.


Sun, Mar 31, 2013 : 4:46 p.m.

No more self centered than someone trying to give us a lesson on morals and what we should or should not eat


Sun, Mar 31, 2013 : 4:02 p.m.

Only in Ann Arbor would an article like this be not only written, but placed on the top page of the most prominent online newspaper in the area. Even though it makes no sense (best solution is not to stop purchasing eggs, best solution is to buy from a farmer or distributor you know and trust) and makes weak arguments, I guess it does fit in well with the dogmatic preachings of Christianity. Happy Easter everyone!


Sun, Mar 31, 2013 : 3:58 p.m.

I have kept up to 40 birds before, right now I have 16 layer hens and too many roosters. They are pretty happy in their free range lifestyle, but every type of food production is a trade off. If I want to protect my birds, I have to trap and dispose of predators like Racoons. I completely agree that commercial farming methods are for the most part cruel and unnatural. Nothing short of a global change in diet and farming practices will stop this, but as I am sure the comments here will show, that is going to be very hard to achieve.


Sun, Mar 31, 2013 : 8:44 p.m.

Finally. A well thought out and educated post. Thanks.

Jack Gladney

Sun, Mar 31, 2013 : 5:33 p.m.

That's it. Screw the gay marriage thing. I'm changing my Facebook picture to a picture of a smiling chicken to promote hen rights. I already feel better about myself. Agents of change, unite!


Sun, Mar 31, 2013 : 3:54 p.m.

Hah--- it's always nice to wake up Easter morning and receive a fresh dose of guilt.


Sun, Mar 31, 2013 : 3:08 p.m.

At least there wasn't some derp in there about watching Forks Over Knives....


Sun, Mar 31, 2013 : 8:43 p.m.

Did you watch it? I guess not.


Sun, Mar 31, 2013 : 2:09 p.m.

And if Jesus didn't want us using eggs why did he start that Easter egg thing in the first place?


Sun, Mar 31, 2013 : 2:28 p.m.

He brought it when he came over on the Mayflower.


Sun, Mar 31, 2013 : 2:07 p.m.

The road to awesome is paved with bacon and eggs.


Sun, Mar 31, 2013 : 1:28 p.m.

@Kate Many foods -- from canned soups to root beer -- can have eggs in them: Baked foods Breaded and batter-fried foods Caesar salad dressing Cream pies, fillings, and puffs Crepes and waffles Custards, puddings, and ice cream Eggnog Eggrolls Egg substitutes Coffee drinks like cappuccino (eggs are sometimes used to help create the foam) Fizzes Lollipops and other candies Marshmallows and marzipan Mayonnaise Meatloaf and meatballs Meringue and frostings Pastas Sauces, including Hollandaise and tartar sauce Simplesse (fat substitute) Souffl├ęs Soups and consomm├ęs Wine


Mon, Apr 1, 2013 : 12:05 a.m.

If the above post is correct, and the writer is vegan, than yes she does avoid all of these things.


Sun, Mar 31, 2013 : 10:32 p.m.

My point is that if she is so down on eating eggs, I hope she does not eat any of these foods. Or she like other has a convenient problem with others that eat eggs. Clear enough?


Sun, Mar 31, 2013 : 8:42 p.m.

....and your point is?


Sun, Mar 31, 2013 : 1:19 p.m.

Plastic eggs? You do realize that the plastic is most likely made from petroleum products, right? And if you think chickens have it bad, just think of those dinosaurs getting crushed under millions of pounds of pressure for millions of years to make your plastic egg. And don't even get me started on the Peeps!


Sun, Mar 31, 2013 : 12:34 p.m.

I suggest you all follow this advice. ...and leave more tasty eggs for me. Anyway, like I was sayin', eggs is the fruit of the chicken butt. You can barbecue it, boil it, broil it, bake it, saute it. Dey's uh, omelettes, hard boiled, soft boiled, over easy, over hard, scrambled, eggs Benedict, egg McMuffins, quiche. Pan fried, deep fried, stir-fried. There's cheesy eggs, eggs and hash browns, eggs with toast, eggs with ham and egg sandwiches.. That- that's about it.


Sun, Mar 31, 2013 : 1:04 p.m.

sounds almost like shwrimps


Sun, Mar 31, 2013 : 12:33 p.m.

I bet she's a real hoot at parties!


Sun, Mar 31, 2013 : 8:41 p.m.

So, people should only say things that amuse you?


Sun, Mar 31, 2013 : 1:30 p.m.

Actually.....she probably thinks she is: "Stand up comedy, activism, law school and life on the road flavored with bits of running, vegan food and NKOTB concerts." Sounds more like one of those shows where everyone acts superior to and laughs at people that they disagree with. I think Larry the Cable Guy sounds like a more agreeable person.


Sun, Mar 31, 2013 : 12:05 p.m.

And really fresh eggs, say, from your backyard hens are the best!

Jim Pryce

Sun, Mar 31, 2013 : 11:48 a.m.

I have my own chicken flock, so I know where my eggs come from. Nothing as tasty as a farm fresh egg right from the hens arse!!


Sun, Mar 31, 2013 : 8:40 p.m.

Jim Pryce, you need a lesson in chicken anatomy. YpsiCityMomma, why on earth would you say such a thing. She said nothing about people keeping chickens for their own use. You, hopefully treat them better than any factory farm would.


Sun, Mar 31, 2013 : 12:12 p.m.

Backyard chickens are the best! Though I am sure the writer of this Letter to the Editor will find fault with those of us who keep chicks in the yard, too.


Sun, Mar 31, 2013 : 11:47 a.m.

There are also cruelty-free eggs available for purchase from hens that lead happy lives. I understand what you're saying and won't buy factory farmed eggs, but this type of article isn't going to change people's opinions because it's too harsh. The information is true and so sad, but presenting it creatively and kindly would probably sway more people. Plus, your timing is just wrong. Not being a religious person, Easter doesn't mean much to me, but it's an important day to a lot of people, and even those who aren't religious but enjoy Easter baskets and fun with their kids don't want to read stuff like this on this day.


Sun, Mar 31, 2013 : 8:38 p.m.

The truth hurts and Kate was fine for writing this piece in my opinion. Too many look the other way and buy so called "cage free" eggs which are from mistreated animals as well.

Sam S Smith

Sun, Mar 31, 2013 : 12:10 p.m.

Great post! Thank you!

Jack Gladney

Sun, Mar 31, 2013 : 11:36 a.m.

I guess this advice comes just a little too late. Who would like an omelette with carmelized onions and mushrooms and creamy goat cheese?


Sun, Mar 31, 2013 : 12:01 p.m.

Jim...Venison sausage !

Jim H

Sun, Mar 31, 2013 : 11:51 a.m.

And sausage too!


Sun, Mar 31, 2013 : 11:47 a.m.

Do you have any idea how goats are treated?


Sun, Mar 31, 2013 : 11:27 a.m.

Wonder if the family going to the 135th annual White House Easter Egg Roll got the message.


Sun, Mar 31, 2013 : 11:21 a.m.

What can I do to help those cute little chocolate bunnies ? millions are viciously eaten raw every Easter


Sun, Mar 31, 2013 : 8:48 p.m.

justcurious....because it begs to be made fun of that's why


Sun, Mar 31, 2013 : 8:36 p.m.

Why bother to read this if you are just going to make jokes about it. What Kate said is true. What kind of mentality have we come to?


Sun, Mar 31, 2013 : 1:36 p.m.

Bob....Yep but that's after they start at their ears

Basic Bob

Sun, Mar 31, 2013 : 1:32 p.m.

Most people I know savagely bite their heads off.