There is an incredible amount of conflicting information so I focused on the most up to date info as they tended to be answering to questions or issues of the past.
PLEASE STOP BUYING EGGS FROM THE GROCERY STORE. I cannot repeat this enough throughout this blog. Meet a farmer on line (google local eggs for sale), meet an egg farmer at your local farmers market, buy only local farm fresh. Average cost is $4.00 per dozen which is double the grocery store but worth every penny and we simply cut down on the amount eaten in our house to be able to afford them. . The more of us that do this, the faster the large egg producers will respond.
No I'm not being" Chicken Little". Our egg production industry is broken and only by using your buying power will it be fixed within a reasonable time.
THE GOOD NEWS
All eggs sold in retail Canada are antibiotic and hormone free.
Egg laying hen cages are to be completely phased out of use in Canada by 2036.
And Now THE BAD NEWS
90% of all eggs sold in Canada come from a large conventional producer that uses hen cages. These cages provide a space less than the size of a sheet of paper for each chicken. There are no nesting or resting areas. The level of animal cruelty is so high that the farmers forbid filming or pictures by any visitors or employees but thank goodness that cell phones made this easier to do. In 2008 news broke in the USA about chicken farms and videos were leaked showing the extreme cruelty and consumers on both sides of the boarder started to demand better. Personally I put too much faith in our government at the time and thought that our Inspectors would not be letting this happen here.
http://henhell.ca/ Then Mercy for Animals posted this to the internet in 2014. This is almost impossible to watch but knowledge is power and knowing this, i hope that you will use your buying power to change it. PLEASE STOP BUYING EGGS FROM GROCERY STORES. The more of us that make the switch will push for changes to happen and to happen faster in this industry.
The SPCA and the CFIA joined forces with the provinces to inspect animal farms and create the National Code of Practice for the handling of farm animals. Fines in excess of $75,000 per animal cruelty offence as well as jail time for employees and the producers were enacted. The large egg producers fought back and it is still being battled in the courts but the fear of these fines have done their jobs in curtailing animal cruelty throughout the industry. I assume that iphones and social media also had a huge part in policing the farms.
Today's regulations require a great deal more inspections and large producers must hire a full time veterinary inspector and cctv monitoring of all production areas. The cctv was strongly urged for even my small smoked salmon production in 2014 by our provincial inspectors.
TYPES OF EGGS AND THE FARMS THAT PRODUCE THEM
WHITE and BROWN eggs are produced in CONVENTIONAL farms. These are incredibly cruel places and unfortunately 90 % of all retail eggs are produced this way. Conventional farm are depicted in the HenHell movie. Although most farms are kept cleaner and must adhere to the Safe Handling Act, the chickens lives are the same. Crowded smelly cages with no sun light, or basic enrichments such as nesting area or perches.
Canadian conventional farmers have agreed to stop installing any new cages and will phase out of use all current cages by 2036. When presented with the same challenge in Europe, their farmers were able to manage with in 3 years! Hence why your buying power is so important here to effect change. PLEASE PLEASE stop buying eggs from the grocery store. Local farms and framers markets only , please, I beg of you.
OMEGA 3 - These eggs are one of the biggest over priced fads that exsist in the food industry. Not only are these eggs farmed CONVENTIONALLY but DHA is only aquired and absorbed in the human body from fish oil. Flax feed contains EPA AND ALA omegas, not DHA. DHA is the omega 3 that our bodies need.
VITAMIN ENHANCED - These eggs are also produced by CONVENTIONAL farmers differing only in a vitamin enriched feed.
VEGETARIAN - Please do not shoot the messenger but if you are buying eggs in the grocery store than even these are produced the CONVENTIONAL way of farming but fed a vegetarian diet.
FUTURE FARM TYPES
Currently our Canadian egg farmers are deciding which type of farming they are going to invest in as they phase out the conventional cages.
Watch for labels on the cartons in grocery stores and at the farmers markets over the next few years.
FURNISHED\ENRICHED OR NESTLAID CAGES - double the space per chicken and enrichment provided such as scratch pads,nests and dust baths. Still a cage and still not outside. GMO feed
FREE RUN - The chickens are allowed to roam freely within a barn with enrichment. They are still not allowed sunshine and these farmers tend to over crowd the barns again. GMO feed
FREE RANGE - The chickens on these farms roam free as well as are guaranteed a minimum of 100 hours of sunshine - weather permitting. GMO feed.
ORGANIC - Organic eggs are from free range farms and are fed a certified organic feed.
Unfortunately egg farming will have to solve the problem of too many male chicks than required. These male chicks are killed even if they are "organic". New technology may solve this soon by being able to tell the sex of the egg and therefore being able to send them to our table as eggs and allowing the required hens only to be hatched.
The egg industry has a long way to go to fix itself but at least it has acknowledged the short comings and is on its way to repairing the damage. Small local farms are naturally free range and organic. They are also small enough to allow the males to become adults before culling them for someone's dinner table.
PLEASE BUY EGGS FROM SMALL LOCAL FARMS. STOP BUYING EGGS FROM THE GROCERY STORE. LET OUR BUYING POWER PUSH FOR FASTER AND GREATER CHANGES IN THIS INDUSTRY.
ENJOY AND EAT WELL.
See you next week with BACON and our pork industry.