Eggs: A Hidden Cycle of Suffering

The egg industry has quite successfully hidden the cruel elements of egg production from the eyes of the general public. That is why many of us continue to consume eggs without a second thought, ignorant of the cruelty inflicted upon chicks and chickens.

 

Now I’ll explain organic, free range, barn laid and cage hen raising conditions with regard to the disadvantages of each system.

Please note that regardless of the hen raising condition, the following 2 points occur:

*Male chicks are killed at birth. Half of all chicks born for the replacement of worn out chickens are males. As they are considered worthless ‘waste products’ by the egg industry, they are either grinded up alive or gassed to death on their first day of life.

*Hens are sent to slaughter when their egg production slows (from as young as 18 months old). These chickens can live a natural lifespan of on average 8 years and up to 10 years.

 

Caged

Confined to cages, no space to move, can be ‘debeaked’, no nest/perch, no access to outdoors

Due to the vast number of cages and chickens, sick and injured chickens often go unnoticed and therefore may not be cared for. Lack of exercise and calcium deficiency from continual egg laying may lead to weak and broken bones. ‘Debeaking’ is a process involving the removal of the tip of a chicken’s beak to prevent chickens from pecking at the feathers of other chickens out of frustration. This painful process is often done with no pain relief.

 

Barn laid

Restricted space to move, can be ‘debeaked’, no access to outdoors

 

Free range

Maybe can be ‘debeaked’ depending on certification body

 

Egg alternatives for cooking include:

  • Tofu: Scrambled tofu
  • Chickpea flour: Chickpea flour omelette
  • Orgran vegan easy egg=15 eggs: Scrambled eggs, omelette, frittata, quiche

 

Egg alternatives for baking include:

  • 1tbsp ground flax seed & 3tbsp water
  • 1/4 cup silken tofu
  • 1/4 cup mashed banana (about 1/2 a banana)
  • 1/4 cup applesauce
  • 1/4 cup soy or coconut yoghurt
  • Orgran ‘no egg’ egg replacer=66 eggs: Cakes, muffins, meringues
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The Negative Impact of Leather Altogether

Leather is one of the most commonly used animal fibers, whether it be for clothing or accessories. Although it is a timeless and durable material, its manufacture has negative effects on people, animals and the environment.

Impact on animals

There are many victims of the leather industry. This includes cows, crocodiles, kangaroos, seals, horses, cats and dogs. As there is no legal requirement to label leather products, it can be difficult for a consumer to determine which type of animal it has come from and where they were raised, let alone how the animal was treated.

Besides having to face the stress of slaughter eventually, animals used for leather are also routinely subjected to painful procedures such as de-horning and branding, all without any pain relief.

Many ‘bobby calves’, unwanted products of the dairy industry, are slaughtered within a few days of their lives, and their skins used to make leather accessories for the fashion industry.

Leather is often not just a ‘by-product’ of the meat and dairy industries. It itself is quite profitable, which may drive demand for more animals to be raised and killed.

Impact on people & the environment

Tanning is used to prevent removed animal skin from decomposing. But did you know that the tanning of leather involves the use of large amounts of chemicals? And some countries don’t have adequate laws for the disposal of chemicals. Consequently, people who live or work near/at tanneries commonly suffer from illnesses including skin conditions and respiratory problems. With the potential to cause pollution to air, soil and water, these chemicals are also bad for the environment.

Alternatives

With more and more people becoming aware of the damaging effect of leather production, demand for ethical alternatives is growing. Alternatives range from the familiar polyurethane (PU), to interesting and innovative ‘leathers’ such as those made from pineapple leaf fibers (Pinatex), leaf, cork and even mushroom (MuSkin)!

Some brands and stores that offer leather-free goods:

  • Urban Originals: Has a range of bags and wallets
  • Vegan style: (Melbourne)
  • Vegan wares: (Melbourne)
  • Velvety: Online store offering a range of accessories made from innovative leather alternatives

 

Reality of animal testing & guide to cruelty free products

Unfortunately many products including household and personal care products are still tested on animals using cruel and outdated methods. This testing is often done overseas, such as in China, where there is a legal requirement for imported ‘cosmetics’ to be tested on animals. This means that for a company to sell their product in China, it will need to be tested on animals.

No pain relief is provided to animals during experimentation, and the animals are almost always either killed by the substance tested or killed at the end of the experiment. Besides, different species respond differently to chemicals, so the results from animal testing are not directly applicable to humans, often resulting in unnecessary suffering and loss of life. In fact, animals in labs are often given much higher doses than that which humans would use in real life.

Alternatives to animal testing include:

  • Organ chips
  • Computerized models
  • In vitro cell and tissue cultures
  • Embryonic stem cells
  • Human epidemiology studies (e.g. patch testing)

There are 3 organisations that certify products as cruelty free:

  • Choose Cruelty Free (CCF)
  • People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA)
  • Cruelty Free International

For a list of cruelty free brands in Australia, you can download the Choose Cruelty Free app or visit their website. Furthermore, on their website there is a list of cruelty free products that can be found in places like your local supermarket or pharmacy.

Cruelty Free International have a Leaping Bunny app, which has products organised by brand in alphabetical order, as well as by categories.

In addition, there is also a Happy Bunny app which includes CCF, PETA & Leaping Bunny accredited products.

Products that I have tried include:

Sukin (CCF accredited): Cream cleanser [For drier skin], Foaming facial cleanser [For normal or oilier skin], Facial moisturizer, Paw paw ointment

Natio (undergoing reaccreditation by CCF): Rosewater and chamomile gentle skin toner

Organic care (CCF accredited): Normal balance shampoo & conditioner

 

 

The Whitewashing in the Dairy Industry

What comes to mind when you think of calcium? Probably dairy. The dairy industry has told us that we need 3 serves of dairy per day to meet our required calcium intake and thus have healthy bones.

However, dairy may not be as healthy as you think. Approximately 75% of the world is lactose intolerant, meaning they experience digestive problems upon consuming dairy. Dairy is also pro-inflammatory and therefore can aggravate or worsen skin conditions including acne and eczema. In addition, most dairy products contain hormones including estrogen and thus consumption can lead to hormone imbalances.

This must be because cow’s milk is not intended to be for human consumption, but is meant to be nourishment to aid the rapid development of baby cows. Cows are usually impregnated every year to keep them producing milk, and they face an early death when their production wanes. Male calves, who are useless products in the eyes of the dairy industry, are separated from their mother in their first day of life and sent to slaughter within their first week of life.

With so many kinder and healthier sources of calcium, this is a cruel and unnecessary practice. Good sources of calcium include dark leafy greens (like kale), bok choy, broccoli, almonds and tofu, just to name a few.

Other sources of calcium that can replace dairy products include soy, almond, rice, oat and coconut milks (Brands include Vitasoy & Sanitarium So Good). There is even soy-based and coconut-based cheese and yoghurt, and nut-based cheese such as cashew cheese!

For a less healthier sweet treat, dairy free ice-creams are made from soy, almond or coconut milk. Some of my favourites are Weis Dairy Free Simply Coconut made with coconut cream, and their Dairy Free Mango, Passionfruit & Coconut bar which also contains coconut cream. And I want to try the Sanitarium So Good frozen dessert range, especially Vanilla Bliss, which is made from soy milk.

So please avoid supporting this cruel industry by reducing dairy consumption or removing dairy altogether from your diet if you haven’t already.

Warmth in Winter is Without Wool

With more than one month of winter left in Melbourne, the cold still lingers in the air, making us reach for our wool jumpers, gloves and scarves without a second thought. But wool is not as warm as you may think, at least when it comes to cruelty to sheep.

Naturally, sheep grow just enough wool to insulate themselves against both cold and hot weather. However, genetic alterations and breeding has made sheep in the wool industry produce excessive amounts of wool. Shearing during the winter is common, particularly in southern Australia, where sheep will suffer from the cold and some will even die from the harsh winter weather, as many farms do not provide adequate shelter.

In addition, shearers often handle sheep roughly, cutting and wounding the sheep, in an attempt to shear quickly, as they are paid by the amount of wool rather than by the hour.

Furthermore, lambs are subjected to an even crueler procedure known as ‘mulesing’ to reduce flystrike. This involves the skin surrounding the tail stump being cut off, which often leaves bloody wounds. Barely half the lambs receive even short-term pain relief and barely any will receive veterinary care. In fact, contrary to its very purpose, the open wounds take time to heal and during this time the lamb is at increased risk of flystrike

With so many alternative fabrics that don’t involve this suffering, it should be easy to stay warm without wool.

Alternatives to wool (for knitwear) include:

  • Cotton
  • Polyester
  • Cotton & polyester blend
  • Acrylic
  • Acrylic & polyamide blend
  • Nylon
  • Viscose

So please show warmth to sheep who need their warm coat more than we do.

An Animal Lover’s Purpose in Life

Like many of us, I grew up eating meat without considering where it came from. It was only recently that I became aware of the suffering that goes on behind animal exploitation. This led me to make the decision to devote my life to helping animals.

I realised that I not only love animals, but I also respect them. I believe that all animals deserve to be treated with kindness regardless of differences in intelligence or abilities, solely because just like us, they have emotions and can feel pain.

Through this blog, I want to inform others of the cruelty behind the meat, dairy, egg, fashion and various other industries that often involve animal cruelty. And thereby, I seek to inspire other animal lovers to lead a more compassionate lifestyle.

Just the thought that simple decisions that one makes on a daily basis can help reduce the suffering that animals go through gives me the strength to continue helping animals.