8.05.2015

The chicken and the egg.
Food Issues Book Club - The Ethics of What We Eat, Chapter 3

Hello all!  Welcome to the NOiG Food Issues Book Club, wherein I read books about food stuff, summarize each book by chapter, and then attempt to apply that book chapter's ideas to the New Orleans food environment and my own experiences.  Fun right?!  Check out previous installations here.  I'd love it if you'd read along and join in!  And now, without further ado...

The Ethics of What We Eat, Chapter 3:
Behind the Label: "Animal Care Certified" Eggs

Hello Peter and Jim!

This letter will be short, as it concerns the third chapter of The Ethics of What We Eat, Behind the Label: 'Animal Care Certified' Eggs, which is only six pages long.  I do wonder, gentlemen, why if you were devoting a chapter to egg labeling you didn't explore the numerous other labels used for eggs to make consumers believe that they are sustainably and ethically produced and/or healthier than other eggs.  Of course, an entire book could likely be written on the subject.  (Has such a book already been written?)


I am relieved to hear that the "Animal Care Certified" label being used by United Egg Producers was dropped, and hope that the "United Egg Producers Certified" label that replaced it is at least somewhat more transparent to consumers.

Where I live in New Orleans, and from what I understand in many urban areas around the US, there has been a resurgence of not only urban vegetable gardening but also of so-called "backyard chickens."  I have long thought that eating the eggs from such chickens, when the chickens were obtained through rescue and are well kept and happy and allowed to live our their natural lives in peace, was a potential way to eat eggs ethically.  I have recently revised that view, when I learned that backyard hens would rather eat their eggs themselves!  Some believe this is because the intensively bred hens we have in the world today expend too much creating eggs, and the only way for them not to become depleted in the egg-making process is to reincorporate them.  I don't know the science on it - I don't know if it has even been explored in a formal scientific way in fact.  But if it has any truth, it eliminates the possibility of chicken egg eating ever being ethical.

Apparently, backyard chickens eating their own eggs is quite a problem for people who are trying to harvest eggs from them.  Personally, I think this points to the idea that modern hens really do need this food source.  What do y'all think?

Chickens hanging out in Lafreniere Park.  I wonder if their eggs are taken?  I should try to find out.
Until next time,
melissa b.

P.S. - The owner of the coffee shop I'm working in right now just walked in with two "rotisserie" chickens.  RIP friends.  Sigh.


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