Say “No” To Big Ag And It’s Corporate Flock
Tom Kerr writing on Big Ag…
Three years ago, Big Ag was forced to pull millions of factory-farmed eggs from supermarket shelves across America, because they were tainted by bird flu.
Earlier this year, as many as 10 million commercially-produced eggs in Europe were contaminated with a flea and tick pesticide used on mega-farms.
There are many things in life you have to worry about…but eating flea and tick poison or influenza for breakfast should not be among them.
I recently heard a big egg farmer on national television bemoaning the fact that his production costs have risen.
But guys like him are the source of the problem.
He maintains a flock of 250,000 hens in a cramped facility that relies almost exclusively on computers and assembly line machinery. The operation resembles a manufacturing plant, not a farm.
Seven of the biggest egg producers in the U.S. have flocks of more than 10 million hens.
The biggest has approximately 40 million.
To put that number into perspective, 40 is how many people you invite to your wedding if you still want it to be relatively intimate.
Forty million is the entire population of California.
Not only are such incomprehensible numbers of hens difficult to imagine or manage, they are also nearly impossible to monitor for your safety and wellbeing.
Crowding makes hens more susceptible to disease, and when one bird gets sick it can spawn an epidemic.
But chickens were once wild birds that foraged for grains, berries, and insects in open fields and forests.
Left to their own devices, they will normally form flocks of a dozen or so birds…the way the wild turkeys that live in the woods around my home do.
The bizarre notion of raising hundreds of thousands of hens in a confined indoor warehouse is a modern corporate idea…and it’s a bad one.
The eggs you buy from Big Ag are not gathered by hand and placed into little yellow baskets cushioned by beds of straw. Hens lay them directly above automated conveyer belts that scoot them into sorting and packaging assembly lines.
The carton you purchase may have a picture of a red barn with a rooster-shaped weathervane but, in reality, it was first stacked on what the industry calls an “egg flat pallet system.” Then it was loaded by a forklift into a semi-truck and transported to a giant distribution warehouse.
The eggs you eat may come from hundreds or thousands of miles away, whereas the ones your grandparents enjoyed were probably laid by their own hens.
But eating well doesn’t have to be a bygone, nostalgic concept.
Today there are safer, more convenient, and equally-affordable alternatives that you can easily take advantage of to eat tastier, fresher eggs…each and every morning.
Homesteaders and small farmers offer nutritious eggs to customers like you who live nearby, often in the very same community, whether you are in the suburbs or the big city. You can buy their eggs – along with other local products like cheese, milk, sausage, and honey – at a tailgate market, food co-op, or through a CSA program that delivers farm-fresh goods right to your doorstep.
You can also have some earthy fun raising your own chickens for food or profit, right in your own backyard.
Assembly line production may give you consumer advantages when you’re in the market for a new car.
But just as you should never settle for a compromised, disconnected version of your authentic self, you shouldn’t accept anything less than the genuine article when it comes to the food you put in your mouth and feed to your family.
P.S. Discover how you can enjoy a more laidback, authentic, independent way of life in The Savvy Retiree Daily. Sign up below to have it delivered – free of charge – to your email inbox.