Friday, September 4, 2009

Egg Council Responds

Iowa Egg Council CEO says methods used are humane
Thursday, September 3, 2009, 12:45 PM
by Jerry Oster, KNAX, Yankton

The C.E.O. of the Iowa Egg Council says producers in the state are not using inhumane production practices, despite what was shown in an undercover video shot by the group Mercy for Animals at the Hy-Line plant in Spencer. The video showed male chicks being separated out and being thrown into a grinder.

Kevin Vinchattle says the methods used to destroy male baby chicks as part of the egg production process are approved and standard operating procedure in the industry. He says there is no market for the male chicks.

"We're in egg production, and boys don't lay eggs and girls do, and so if you could tell in the shell which was going to be a male and which was going to be a female, you'd never even incubate the male eggs and they would get diverted to different use. Right now we don't have the ability to do that," Vinchattle says.

He says the male chicks don't have enough meat on them to be economical as a meat bird, and the euthanasia process is designed to be instantaneous and that is accepted by the industry in the U.S. and Europe. Read More

It seems that many animal rights activists are just finding out that male chickens do not lay eggs. Since the video has come out, they have consistently been emphasizing this fact. This is a non-story in that respect but apparently it’s been a revelation for them. No form of euthanasia is pretty, but I can’t imagine a quicker way to do it. It’s a method that’s been approved here and in Europe, which is where many animal rights groups point to as being the example we should follow. Besides, if Mercy for Animals was really concerned about animal welfare, they would have brought this issue forward right away. This is nothing more than a staged publicity stunt.

Here's the main thing to remember. Mercy for Animals will not be happy about any form of euthanasia or use of livestock for human benefit. So this really makes the video footage a moot point. They could video tape cows standing in a pasture and they are still going to advocate that people be vegans.


Anastasia said...

New reader here - I found your blog through a twitter friend. I'm looking forward to learning more about ag from a different perspective.

I don't like the tactics of these animal rights groups, but at the same time, I'm sort of glad they exist. There are a lot of things that were once accepted that were later considered unethical, and I think those changes in society can be beneficial. They also play a role in educating the public about the meat industry that the meat industry has failed to do. We get "Beef, it's what's for dinner" but know little to nothing about how it got to the plate. I can't help but blame the lack of general science education that should be encouraging people to be curious and seek out info on why things are the way they are instead of going on gut reactions.

As for this issue specifically, I have questions!

Have there been any studies to see whether or not the animals suffer when the grinders are used, or is it just assumed to be ok since it's relatively quick? Are there any other euthanasia methods? What happens to the ground up chicks? Is there any effort to find ways to ID eggs before they hatch? I can think of a few ways to do it, but they're all biotech which we all know would never fly. Any chance there are some naturally parthenogeneic chicken lines? If there are, we wouldn't have to worry about males at all :D

PS: Not all vegetarians are militant, same goes for people who care about animal welfare.

Ginny Messina said...

Troy, I think you know that animal rights activists realize that male chickens don't lay eggs. In fact, most animal rights activists also know that male chicks are tossed live into grinders. The Mercy For Animals video is meant to inform others--those who regularly eat eggs--that this is what happens at hatcheries. Don't you think people deserve to know what is involved in food production so that they can make informed decisions about what they eat?

Also, tossing chicks into grinders is not "euthanasia." Euthanasia is the act of killing someone for reasons of mercy--to put them out of pain. These chicks are killed because those in the egg industry do not view them as animals, they consider them to be garbage--something that has no monetary worth or use.

I showed that film to quite a number of people and several of them said they would no longer eat eggs. Because, quick death or not for those chicks, we don't need eggs in our diet. So why would anyone want to support an industry that treats baby animals that way?