Sunday, May 20, 2007

Why does my CSA need laying hens??

I joined a new CSA this year after careful research. I am getting very excited that my first pickup is coming up fast (June 7). As the date gets closer, I am starting to get email news from the CSA. Sadly, one of the first emails I got from them says "we're going to have laying hens at the farm this summer". This makes me sad. I obviously won't take any eggs, but now I feel like part of the money I paid them for my share of the vegetables is going to support some animal agriculture. One of the things that I liked about them was that they didn't have any eggs or meat as a part of the share like some CSAs do. I want to send them an email to express my displeasure about this development, but I can't figure out what to say. Does anyone have any suggestions for what I should write in the email to the CSA? Should I just ignore this development?


  1. i would definitely say something. be pleasant about it, tell them that you in part signed up for a share because they didn't participate in any animal agriculture and that you are saddened by this development. They should either find a way for you to have a vegan share, so your money isn't going towards something you find morally objectionable, or you will be taking your business elsewhere.

    is there another CSA that would work for you that you could sign up for this late? if so, I'd make the switch right away, and make them give you a refund. if not, tell them this will be their only year with you unless they change.

    seriously, #1: you try so hard to do the right thing, and #2: they may have _no idea_ that one of the things that makes them attractive is their lack of animals. they only way they would know is if they hear from you.

  2. Perhaps you should visit the hens before you complain and see what their quality of life is like (and inquire what will happen to the hens at the end of the season). The eggs are not fertilized, and there is a chance that the hens are actually quite content. I buy eggs from a co-worker who has pet chickens, and her chickens are going to lay those eggs whether or not anyone eats them. That seems to be quite a bit different from killing an animal.

  3. I am opposed to the use of all animals. Chickens are killed in the process of laying eggs. Go see my post about why eggs are bad:

    Basically to get laying hens, you need to breed them. The male chicks are killed because they are not as tasty as "roasting" chickens. The hens at the farm came from somewhere. The place that breeds the hens that my farm buys would have killed male chicks. There is more in the post that I linked to above.

    So, no matter what the quality of life of the chicken, I am still opposed to their use.

  4. I am sure that cows grazing in a field are quite content, up until someone pushes them down a chute and cuts their throat.

    The problem here is that you are ignoring the abuses of the industry in favor of the idealistic picture you portray.

    How many chickens were slaughtered in order to produce the laying hens at this farm... probability says that for every content hen you point out, a baby chick was born male and immediately killed because of it (often thrown into a grinder while still alive by the way, or simply thrown out with the refuse to starve to death).

    What will happen to these hens when they no longer produce eggs, will they be let out into the pen to live the rest of their days contently? No, they will be killed, because letting them live is not economical. The hens are seen as a commodity, not living creatures, and that is the problem.

    Lets assume that you are correct, these hens are content... they won't be slaughtered when they stop producing etc., the problem is that now you don't distinguish between where you get your eggs. Sure, you feel good about yourself because you get most of your eggs from this farm. What happens when you go out for breakfast, or have a piece of cake for dessert at a restaurant. You don't care because you have conditioned yourself to not worry about eggs anymore. What happens when winter rolls around. Well, you don't really think about it anymore, and you get your eggs from the grocery store because you have conditioned yourself to think that laying hens are happy and content.

    The chickens lay so many eggs anyway whether we eat them or not. Why do hens lay so many eggs anyway? Well, because the industry has bred them to do so. Last time I checked, the evolutionary/biological reason would be that of producing offspring, not feeding us. We of course prevent the fertilization of the eggs so that we can consume them. The fact that we consume what amounts to the byproduct of a hen's menstrual cycle is a little disturbing when you think about it, but hey, why let it go to waste, right?

  5. Alright, so we disagree about the eggs. But here's another CSA animal-use question-- perhaps we will agree on this one. At our CSA orientation last weekend, the farmer said that they use animal manure as fertilizer; I'm true this is the case at virtually all farms. What do you think about this, given that the manure came from domesticated animals living in unknown circumstances, who were likely killed prematurely. Are there alternatives to using animal-produced fertilizer? If so, do you feel like you should by your vegetables from a farm that you know does not use manure?

  6. We'd prefer to get food that is fertilized without manure, but it is rare to find it grown that way. If I could find a veganic farm I would definitely join that one instead. And, if I and enough room and time I would grow my own. I think that veganic gardening will become more popular in the future and we will have that choice. Here is a link that has info on veganic farming and alternative to manure:

    it is unfortunately impossible to be perfect as our society is so firmly entrenched in their use of animals. Even tires are made from animal products... you can't stop driving, riding bikes, or buses, or planes. As vegans, we do the best that we can. When there is an alternative we choose the more compassionate option.