20 August 2007

From Today's New York Times

To the Editor:

Re “Suddenly, the Hunt Is On for Cage-Free Eggs” (front page, Aug. 12):

While this is a step in the right direction toward reducing the animal abuse inherent in all factory farming (from the chicken’s point of view), it’s still a long way from what nature intended.

Chickens enjoy being together in small flocks, sunning, dust bathing and scratching in the soil for food. The rooster watches over the flock protectively and often participates in a hen’s egg-laying ritual, an extremely important and private part of her life.

“Free range” does not solve the problem of painful debeaking, enormously oversized flocks or the unnatural isolation of the birds from other sexes and age groups.

Though chickens can live for 5 to 11 years, after two years, they are hauled away to slaughter just like battery-caged hens. All of the male hatchlings are either smothered or ground up alive.

Let chickens be chickens, and avoid the whole moral dilemma by going vegan.

Jean Bettanny
Port Townsend, Wash., Aug. 13, 2007

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