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VEGA News 12 - Laying off eggs

 

Danish organic poultry farms present "major animal welfare problems," due to "poor food, illness, lack of medicines, feather-pulling, cannibalism, and stress" as contributory to the mortality-rate of about 16% among organic free-range chickens, which is 3 or 4 times higher than the toll for battery-hens. "Batteries meanwhile are hygienic, have a low mortality rate and limited behavioral problems," according to the Danish animal welfare council (abbreviated as DDR).

The DDR has stated that "batteries could sometimes be preferable to free-range: "Animal welfare is not necessarily better in the alternative systems than in the batteries. The DDR has found big welfare problems in all of the egg-production systems." The chairman of the DDR, Professor Peter Sandøe called it "a choice between various evils, " saying that "there are big problems in the current production system. Enriched batteries are an acceptable alternative, but it is still unnatural."

The DDR explains common problems: "stock bred to live in batteries are not suited to a free-range life. Strict organic rules also meant that infections tended to be fatal because they could not always treated with antibiotics. Predators might also attack the birds, and bad husbandry can undercut organic ideals."

Professor Sandøe admitted, however, that making stricter rules for the welfare of the hens in Denmark "would not help," as the country would then be flooded with cheaper imported eggs. He asked for "less ideology and more pragmatism in organic egg production" (Animal Pharm, 22 June 2001).

VEGA welcomes this exposition of evils it has been exposing these many years and its indictment of so-called animal welfare societies in the UK who have betrayed the birds with condemnations of cage-systems while conniving at and even approving alternatives that make dishonest play with words such as free-range, organic, and freedom. In VEGA's ideology and pragmatism there's life without eggs: VEGA can unscramble the dependence on the excessive output of the hen's ovaries and cloaca, offers means of dispensing with egg-white in cooking and food-manufacture, and recommends a recipe for an eggless lemon-meringue.

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