Beppie… She was the sweetest of all three chickens and also the most affectionate. She loved gently dozing off while sitting on my lap. She did not even reach the age of two. A normal, healthy chicken lives for ten to twenty years and lays a maximum of 30 eggs per year. Laying hens on the other hand, have been bred to lay more than 300 eggs per year, leading to deformities. Similar to genetical malfunctions in pure-bred dogs, these chickens are also deformed. However, in this case it is not always visible on the outside. It is not widely known how exhausting it is for a chicken to lay eggs. That is why most of the laying hens are transported to Eastern Europe to be slaughtered after a year. This also includes the chickens of biological farmers! Before they lived with me, my chickens were kept in a cage. Most people do not realize that millions of chickens are locked up without access to daylight or the chance to behave naturally.
In a so-called hatchery, chicks are hatched underneath a lamp, without ever meeting their mother. After that, the males and females are separated. As roosters are useless when it comes to laying eggs, they are shredded alive, gassed or drowned (article NRC). The females will be used as laying hens in a cage or in different surroundings. Every year the laying hens of a farmer are captured and put into crates in order to bring them to a slaughter house (these are not the chickens people in the Netherlands eat, because they are no older than 6 weeks). When the cages or coops are empty, they are disinfected and the whole cycle starts again. This proves that it does not matter in what kind of farm chickens were bred: they all die in the same horrible way.
When I first saw Beppie, she was swollen due to fluid retention and in a lot of pain. This made me very angry. Angry towards a cruel system in which animals are regarded as nothing but objects. Beppie was not an object, but a sick animal that was looking for comfort from its owner at the vet’s. A poor, two-year-old chicken that had to be put to sleep because it never had a normal life in the egg industry.
Please also read this article which explains the reasons to choose for a plant-based diet instead of for one that contains biological animal products. It also contains a lot of information about biological farms.
Written by Ramona Bleyie