Eggs are on everyone's lips. They are eaten as breakfast egg or hidden in cakes, pasta, sauces and much more. Many people are not aware of what is actually behind the chicken product. We pay only a few cents for a chicken - for the chickens it costs its freedom, health and finally their lives.
How natural is the egg production?
In order for the chickens to lay an egg every day, the farmer removes the eggs from the nest every day and thus exploits the natural conservation of the chickens. At the age of 15 months, the laying hens are so leached that they are mostly not even used as soup chicken anymore. And since a professional slaughter does not pay off (cost: CHF 1.- per chicken), approximately 1.4 million laying hens are gassed annually.
Max. 20 eggs would be laid by a wild chicken per year. Laying hens manage 300.
Where do the eggs come from?
Logical: Only female animals lay eggs. Since male chicks from laying hens are of no use for meat production either, every second one-day chick is slaughtered immediately after hatching. The chicks are "hatched": the female animals come into the rearing, the male are immediately chopped or gassed alive in the so-called chicksmixer.
Die Käfighaltung von Hühnern ist in der EU seit 2012 verboten – theoretisch. Praktisch ist es nach wie vor erlaubt, Hühner in Grosskäfigen oder sogenannten «ausgestalteten» Käfigen zu halten. Die Tiere leben dabei zusammengepfercht auf kleinster Fläche. Tageslicht oder Frischluft bleibt ihnen ihr Leben lang verwehrt. Die Mehrheit der in die Schweiz importierten Eier stammt aus solcher Haltung und wird vor allem für verarbeitete Produkte verwendet.
The banning of chickens has been banned in the EU since 2012 - theoretically. Practically, it is still permissible to keep chickens in large cages or so-called "designed" cages. The animals live together on the smallest surface. They are denied daylight or fresh air all their lives. The majority of eggs imported to Switzerland come from such an attitude and are mainly used for processed products.
693 Mio. eggs were imported to Switzerland in 2011.
Barn- or «free range» eggs
In contrast to soil maintenance, free-rangeing differs only in that the chickens have the opportunity to run out. In fact, only a few of the thousands of chickens use it for the following reasons:
- On the open surface, they find no hiding places to protect themselves from flying enemies as they would in nature.
- There are no experienced guide animals, since all chickens are already killed at the age of about 15 months.
Spouting is granted only in fine weather - especially in summer.
When individual animals pass through the crowds to the front door, they lose their group. Fearing that they prefer to stay in the stable.
- The animals are under constant stress, because the natural rearrangement in groups over about 90 animals no longer functions.
In order to increase productivity, chickens are irradiated with artificial light in up to 16 hours per day in both housing systems. Behavioral disturbances are the result of this husbandry. In order to prevent mutual hitching or evisceration many hens get their mandible burned or cut off without anesthesia, which is called "touching". But just the chicken's nib is as sensitive as our fingertips through numerous nerve tracts.
The daily egg laying is by no means as amusing as a well-known song makes us believe. While their ancestors laid about twelve to twenty eggs a year, specially bred laying hens manage about three hundred a year. In order to be able to build the eggshells, calcium is extracted from the bone. This is beside the movement restriction and lack of sunlight one of the causes for partly deadly technopathies such as cage paralysis, osteoporosis and fatty liver syndrome. In addition, it is a great stress for the chickens not to be able to withdraw for egg laying; An indescribable torture in the large-scale livestock farm system. This, like the parasites which are rapidly multiplying by the masses, contribute to the death of one of 15 hens per year before slaughter.
18,000 chickens may be kept per farm in Switzerland.
Organic chickens also have outlet during bad weather. In addition the herds are smaller and the animals have more space. What remains is that even for organic eggs the male chickens are killed and the chickens are disposed of with 15 months just as in conventional chicken husbandry.
- Eggs dissolve often food allergies, they are subject to declaration.
- Eggs can cause food poisoning, especially salmonellosis. More than 1000 cases are officially reported. In truth, however, there are a few more, because the symptoms resemble a cold so that the poisoning often remains undetected
- An egg contains more than 200 mg of cholesterol.
It is more healthy to take protein from plant sources, such as vegetables, soybeans, nuts and legumes.
Deficiency symptoms without eggs?
Abgesehen davon, dass hierzulande jeder im Schnitt doppelt so viel Eiweiss (Protein) wie nötig zu sich nimmt, sollte klar sein, dass natürlich auch Pflanzen aus Proteinen bestehen, nicht etwa nur Fleisch, Milch oder Eier. Von den etwa zwanzig Proteinbausteinen, den Aminosäuren, sind acht essentiell, das heisst, sie müssen mit der Nahrung aufgenommen werden, weil der Körper sie nicht selbst herstellen kann. Nun enthalten Tierprodukte zwar alle acht, aber Sojabohnen ebenso. Auch Nüsse, Getreide und Hülsenfrüchte sind sehr proteinreich. Dass beispielsweise Getreide die Aminosäure Lysin, Hülsenfrüchten Methionin fehlt, wäre nur dann ein Problem, wenn lediglich eines dieser Nahrungsmittel zur Verfügung stünde. Um also einen Mangel an einer Aminosäure zu erleiden, wären grosse Anstrengungen erforderlich, da die eine Gruppe die jeweils der anderen fehlende enthält.
Apart from the fact thateveryone consumes twice as much protein as necessary, it should be clear that there are also proteins in plants, not only in meat, milk or eggs. Of the approximately twenty protein building blocks (amino acids) eight are essential, meaning they must be absorbed with the food because the body can not make it by itself. Now, animal products contain all eight, but soybeans do do as well. Also nuts, cereals and legumes are very rich in protein. For example, the fact that cereals lack the amino acid lysine and pulses lack methionine, would only be a problem if only one of these foods were available. Thus, in order to suffer a deficiency of an amino acid, great efforts would be required.
The cause of many environmental damage is the manure from animal breeding. Each individual chicken produces 180 g daily. Ammonia from manure has proved to be one of the main causes of forest extinction, nitrate in drinking water originates, the manure comes from the over-fertilization. In addition, the conversion of calories from cereals by way of animal feed is associated with enormous losses. Cereals, for example, which are eaten as bread, fully benefit human nutrition. However, if the grain is fed to chickens first, twice as much must be used to produce eggs that correspond to them. This means wastage of foodstuffs, cultivation areas and energy, as well as damage caused by "plant protection products" to increase the yield of feed crops.
What can you do?
- Buy pasta without egg. The taste is just as good and they usually even cost less. Genuine Italian pasta does not contain eggs.
- In the reform house, there are egg replacement products which can replace the characteristics of eggs.
- There are also many other ways to replace eggs in recipes.
- Inform your friends and acquaintances about this topic. Informative flyers can be ordered free of charge via the Swissveg-Online-Shop.
- http://www.blv.admin.ch/themen/tierschutz/00744/00747/index.html? [PDF]