By Heather Moore
Ever since half a billion eggs were recalled because of a salmonella outbreak, people have been talking about food safety regulations. Animal welfare issues have been mentioned, but they need to be considered more seriously. The following are some facts to help you tell the hens' side of the story:
There's cruelty in every carton of eggs:
Ninety-nine percent of hens used by the egg industry are confined to filthy, crowded battery cages. In June, the owner of one of the egg farms involved in the recall—and of the company that supplies chickens and chicken feed to both farms implicated in the outbreak—pleaded guilty to cruelty to animals and paid more than $130,000 in fines and restitution following an undercover investigation by Mercy for Animals.
Salmonella spreads like wildfire on factory farms:
Under squalid factory farm conditions, it's easy for salmonella bacteria—which live in the intestines and feces of animals—to spread from bird to bird and from birds to people. Vegan foods don't naturally harbor salmonella bacteria.
Avoiding eggs is the best way to prevent salmonella poisoning and reduce animal suffering:
A salmonella vaccine that has been used successfully in Britain is available, but American regulators don't believe there's enough evidence to show that vaccinating hens will prevent people from getting sick. It's obvious that our food safety regulations are not all they're cracked up to be and that the safest and kindest way to prevent salmonella poisoning is to stop eating eggs altogether. PETA is urging Iowa schools to stop serving eggs to children in order to help protect them from food poisoning. You can opt for egg replacer, scrambled tofu, and other tasty vegan foods.