Mike talks about egg farming in this video: “It’s a Tough Job!”
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I am active in the food banking community in a state that has been hit hard by the recession. Eggs have been essential to the population here that is called almost whimsically “food insecure.” Eggs are the one resource that is used in common by almost every demographic segment. Keeping them safe and affordable has never been more critically important than it is now. When food banks here were low on protein, our local egg producer (Hickman’s Family Farms) stepped up with donations that helped keep people fed with real food.
I have had my own flock of backyard chickens, and I loved the entire pastoral scenario that they afforded me. However, I was not trying to feed a community on the verge of real starvation issues. No small operation can take that on, however well intended. I will continue to support commercial production of nutrition staples like eggs because it takes a heck of a lot more than a village to raise a child.
Thanks for the link Tom. Here are a couple more. I wonder if they will actually post my response this time. My last one seems to have gotten “lost”.
UEP guidelines for 2010 give each hen less space than a sheet of printer paper on which to spend her entire life. In 2003 and again in 2004, the Better Business Bureau ruled that the UEP was misleading consumers. Later, attorney generals from 17 states charged that the UEP was falsely advertising animal welfare claims. In response, the UEP paid $100,000 to settle those claims. On top of that, the UEP has been sued for illegal price fixing.
If any of you people want to see the truth about the chicken factory farm world, where we get 99 percent of our chicken and eggs, watch these videos
Finally, a balanced report.
Thanks, Mike, great job of bringing reality into the equation. So many opinions on farm practices come from a very superficial understanding. It was very refreshing to hear from individuals who have truly studied the issue and have feeding everyday people and animal welfare as their only agenda.
“I am battery hen. I live in a cage so small I cannot stretch my wings. I am forced to stand night and day on a sloping wire mesh floor that painfully cuts into my feet. The cage walls tear my feathers, forming blood blisters that never heal. The air is so full of ammonia that my lungs hurt and my eyes burn and I think I am going blind. As soon as I was born, a man grabbed me and sheared off part of my beak with a hot iron, and my little brothers were thrown into trash bags as useless alive.
My mind is alert and my body is sensitive and I should have been richly feathered. In nature or even a farmyard I would have had sociable, cleansing dust baths with my flock mates, a need so strong that I perform ‘vacuum’ dust bathing on the wire floor of my cage. Free, I would have ranged my ancestral jungles and fields with my mates, devouring plants, earthworms, and insects from sunrise to dusk. I would have exercised my body and expressed my nature, and I would have given, and received, pleasure as a whole being. I am only a year old, but I am already a ‘spent hen.’
Humans, I wish I were dead, and soon I will be dead. Look for pieces of my wounded flesh wherever chicken pies and soups are sold.”
Does anybody want to know the truth about the chicken farms? Take a look at the United Poultry Concerns website. http://www.upc-online.org
Nice work on a factual piece about American agriculture without the hype. Consumers should have choices and I’ll pick the eggs from caged hens everytime.
Great video Mike. Well researched, written and reasoned. I’m proud of America’s egg producers and proud of your work.
Great story. We need to know the American Farmer is truly doing the best job in the world to keep safe and affordable food. This story helps show that everyone can’t have a dozen hens in the back yard to keep eggs in the kitchen. The same for the other great food we all like to eat. Its great if you can grow your own but that won’t feed the world. The Hickmans are a first class operation and I am proud of them for opening up their operation to the dirty jobs team and letting us look around. Mike you are a brave man for saying that sometimes bigger is better and safer.
Great video Mike!! You did a wonderful job showing why the agriculture industry is the way it is. I have my BS degree in Livestock and it is so important to educate the general public and you are doing an amazing job of doing this. I am proud to say I was born and raised on a farm and now work in a hog breeding barn. Thank you so much and keep up the great work.
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Not sure where to begin after reading all these comments.
Let’s start with the informative post about uncaged chickens doing “cleanup” around the farm. Nice that those eggs (for those who want them) will contain bugs of all sorts, grubs, worms and other critters, but also unknown miscelaneous toxic waste laying around, starting with other animals’ poop. For those that want all these things in their eggs, by all means sell them to ‘em, even at a jaw-dropping premium.
I prefer caged chickens’ eggs for the same reason I DON’T serve my family carp when they want fish – I don’t want scavenger animals feeding my family. Taking that thought one step further, how successful do you think KFC would be if they decided to change/expand to KFP (Kentucky Fried Pigeon)?
It appears that on or around January 13, someone lit a fire and told their members to get over here and write anti-Mike/modern egg farming posts, approx 10 negatives in row appear, starting on that date. Included are comments about what happens to the poor male chickens when they are one day old. Let me take a wild guess here and bet that every single one of these posters, while whining about the deaths of one-day-old chickens, simultaneously approve of what goes on down at Planned Parenthood?
Finally, those who have been around chickens know that there are certain sounds, or lack thereof, that happy & contented hens emit. In modern farm henhouses, that ambience is not only alive and well, but protected by hens’ guardians – the farmer.
I am thankful that the quantity and quality of our egg supply continues to increase, while amazingly, the price decreases. If modern egg farmers weren’t doing such a great job, I’d say send them all to Washington.
What an amazing piece of propoganda for the chicken industry. Have any of you done any real research about what really happens in these place and how much horrible suffering the chickens have to endure? This video is a bunch of crap! Go to a chicken factory sometime and see if you can go in and have a look…they won’t let you! Any chicken factory can clean up one of their buildings for some short planned out video clips. It’s a lie! If you guys want to know the TRUTH, read a book called Animal Liberation by Peter Singer, or Thanking the Monkey by Karen Dawn, or Eating Animals by Jonathan Foer. If you want to watch a REAL video, go to meat.org, or watch the movie Earthlings at earthlings.com. Mike Rowe even said this company paid him to narrate this! It wasn’t his film crew that went in there, it was all planned out ahead of time. IT’S A LIE. I was a fan of Mike Rowe’s until I saw this.
I believe there’s a secret agenda on this issue, the HS is not just trying to impose their ideas or is concerned for the animal well being. I’m sure there’s something else on this.
I wish that instead of putting the kind of money and effort they’re putting on this subject they could work on behalf of people in real need. Unfortunately they’re more concerned for animals than people, but well that’s why they got together.
I’ve seen egg producers donate lots of free eggs to charity groups in hard times, create more jobs in times when people is being fired in other places.
I’ve seen egg producers following the strict controls to produce, pack and distribute safe eggs according to profesional guidelines backed up by scientific research.
It is a fact when money is short, families start to eat more eggs because they’re unexpensive and provide good nutrition. I’ve seen families having eggs as the main meal of the day because they can’t afford anything else.
While the prop 2 campaing in CA I watched some TV adds showing chicken on cages in a very bad condition. I’m not sure where the HS got those images, but I have never seen chickens being caged like that, not even in Mexico. So that was a pretty dirty way to convince people to go and support prop 2.
Excellent Job. The documentary provides all Americans a good insight into how American agriculture is providing the safest quality food at the most reasonable cost to the consumers. All consumers need to look at the food system as a whole, and not get focused on a few isolated problems that have been sensationalized by the agro extortionist organizations. In an efficient market system, consumers have the choice of to spend their dollars on what is important to them. They have the ability to weigh the value of husbandry practices versus price. A good market system has niches to accomidate all consumer desires. That is for the consumer to decide. Unfortunately, the HSUS has legal extorted their views into law. Their views are forcing a specific husbandry practice which does not take into consideration nutrition price for Americans who need to rationalize their disposable income.
I think this hits the nail on the head about the nostalgic view many have of Agriculture. This segment is a helpful reminder of so many things we get right in USA Agriculture today. Thank you for being willing to provide some balance in the media coverage of the issues.
It is certainly a comfort to know that the eggs we eat are coming from a clean environment. Those hens seemed well fed, contented, and the eggs came away clean and wholesome. What a neat environment those hens get to live in. Thanks for this report.
Appreciate that you show that eggs are produced in a safe and health environment. Only in America where food if so cheap and accessible are voices calling out for radical changes that would make food less safe and more costly for the typical consumer.
I did not grow up on a farm and your show was a real eye opener for me. If we listen to science rather than emotion we will all be better served. Thanks for presenting this topic is a non-emotion way. Keep up the great work in presenting controversial topics a factual manner for the America consumer!
If we are going to feed our future then we are going to have to constantly find ways of improving animal welfare which is what farmers do. Farmers are constantly striving to find new ways of improving this and will always continue to do this. It is natural for people to try and improve on what they are currently doing. A productive animal is one that will help to feed our future. Farmers can show that improvements have been made over the years to make our food supply the best. People are living longer today than in any time in history. Several areas including modern safe agriculture practices have contributed to this. Whether we are raising cage free or caged eggs both are done in the most humane ways that are known possible today because farmers are striving to supply what the customer wants which is a safe food to eat.
Mike..thank you so much for trying to help educate people on farming. I for one realize that each of us have a choice as to what we eat, but it becomes hard to take when others feel they have the right to make that decission for us. Freedom is a great thing…I want to continue to be able to live and make choices about the food that I eat on my own. I find it hard to take, when you hear about the countless number of dogs and cats that are being put down and the animal welfare originations are spending millions to take rights away from hard working farmers that are only trying to produce a quality product and make a living. If they want to do something, they should help save those animals and quit trying to force farmers to go out of business. I love all animals, but I also know that farming is essential! And to agree with an earlier post, vegetables are alive before they become food on your table. I don’t see those farmers having to be concerned with being put out of business, nor would I want to. I just want these animal welfare people to realize that people should have a choice and it should be there choice and not someone else’s. They could also use that money to help people that do not have food on their tables or people who can’t afford to feed their animals. This would be a great way to make a difference in the world!
I think animal agriculture is in a similar situation as was forestry in the recent past. Twenty years ago there was a big movement to get people to quit cutting down trees. As time went on the activists prevailed and a lot of small forestry companies went out of business. Then there was a rise in forest fires because there was no one to keep the underbrush cleaned out. All of a sudden people began to realize that trees are a crop. They are planted; they grow; are harvested and planted again. It turns out that the foresters did know what they were doing and did it very well. Now no one is interested in “saving the trees”. The only problem is that a lot of people lost their jobs and businesses.
If the animal activists have their way like the “same the tree folks” and Americans no longer have a source of fresh, healthy eggs, people are going to realize that farmers generally did a pretty job.
Mike, I really appreciate your show. I work with egg farmers. It is nice to see a positive presentation. Just in reply to people writing about back yard chickens and not having to import eggs. To house 1 million birds in a cage free situation would take 40 plus times the land that a modern egg farm would. Where is all that land going to come from?
In addition the management of manure is more difficult in these multiple farms, it takes more feed to produce an egg, and in general the mortality is higher in the smaller floor houses.
Also, I have read people mention feed and hormones. There are no hormones used on hens…ever. The feed used is almost all grain based. A normal ration is corn and soybean based.
Great show and I appreciate you helping to educate people on where their food comes from. Many think that as long as we have supermarkets we don’t need farmers.
I am very much in favor of caging egg layers for food safety, layer health, environmental, and welfare reasons. From my personal observations, layers in cages of 6 to 8 birds are less stressed than cage-free layers who have to deal with a group of 10,000 or more. This is a great video depicting the situation of caged layers very well.
Mike, I find it unconscionable that you would lend your name and reputation to this video and portray battery cages as something benign and even positive.
The birds live their entire lives without being able to stretch their wings or do normal chicken activities. The amount of space they have is about the size of a piece of notebook paper. And I’m sure you are well aware of all of that.
Chickens are filthy, disgusting creatures and keeping them in a free range environment would certainly be more hassle and more expense. Luckily humans are ingenious creatures who are capable of coming up with endless solutions to our problems. I’m certain we can do better than sentencing chickens to an entire life of misery in order to save a couple of bucks.
The common, hard-working folk in this country aren’t all stupid, and they’re not all so greedy. When they understand the truth of the matter, they often make the moral choice.
“If you have men who will exclude any of God’s creatures from the shelter of compassion and pity, you will have men who will deal likewise with their fellow men.” – St. Francis of Assisi, Roman Catholic friar, founder of the Franciscans Order
I find it funny how all the “positive” responses to the video are those who profit from this type of food production. No other industry does more than meat and dairy to try and hide the truth behind their production methods. If the general public was aware of the truth behind factory farming there would not be the demand that supposedly warrants these methods of production.
Also, to make one thing clear, I applaud farmers who practice true animal husbandry and make animal welfare a priority in their farming practices. Unfortunately they are the exception. Use of battery cages and factory farming in general goes against everything that true farming was based on. That’s all now been lost to an industrialized system that treats animals as commodities and whose model is based on animal suffering. Those who state that subjecting these animals to a life of intense confinement is practicing animal husbandry obviously does not know much about animals.
If janet wants just a one-sided discussion, she should log on to the HSUS website. At least this farmer respects the right to choose, too bad not everyone feels the same way
I agree, no one should be making any decisions without all of the information. This video seemed very fair and suggests this issue is made up of multiple observations. Why would an organization want to enforce new public policy on an entire industry, without the public being fully educated on the facts? Maybe they have other monetary motivations besides the animals welfare.
Mike thanks for doing such a great job in presenting egg industry production practices as they are currently being done today. I also understand the diversity of opinions about these different types of practices. I would like to share some of my own opinions. I am an egg producer (chicken farmer) and have three different types of production, conventional cages, cage free and organic (cage free with outside access or range free). I have been involved in farming and egg production all of my life (67 yrs) I started working with chickens and cows while at my dad’s side when I was 4 yrs. old so you can understand I have not only seen the changes but have lived them. I believe that the current battery cage systems that we use today are but a step to better technology. There is as system that has been developed in Europe that is called the “Enriched Colony Housing” system. I first viewed it some 6 years ago and immediately saw its inherent advantages. The EU did extensive testing ( $20 million of trials ) of all types of egg production systems, battery cages, cage free, free range and the enriched colony system. The results of that study which was entitled the ” laywell study ” have been released and adopted by the EU. In fact the International Humane Society, which is a division of HSUS aslso participated in and accepted the results of that study. What the study determined was that no system had the magic answer but that the enriched system provided for the best overall welfare for the laying hen. I might add that in my humble opinion that I concur with their findings and my opinion as you might understand comes from personal experience. As relates to what the hens might eat I can say that all of my hens only eat a vegetable diet (no animal by-products of any type). I am also proud to say that because of good biosecurity practices and proper vaccinations to all of our hens we ahve not used an antibiotic on our convetional (battery cage) layers in over 20 years, unfortunately the same can’t be said for cage free production. It is impossible to expose laying hens to mud and manure without having some type of adverse reaction. Hormones are not used in any egg laying hens, whether they are mine or anybody elses. Hormone usage is a misnomer. I have watched and experienced the cage free and range free birds having to walk in their own excrement and mud in the winter months and believe me it’s not a pretty sight. I have also seen what happens when they experience excessive heat or cold. The hens cannot sustain either and the result is death. My 3 daughter-in-laws, who each come from a city background, after watching each of the different types of egg production practices, have each come to the conclusion that a cage free or range free environment is truly not in the best interest of the welfare of a laying hen. As you might expect we will be replaciing our current battery cage systems with the new enriched colony systems out of Europe in order that we can continue to supply healthy, nutitious, wholesome eggs to our customers at a reasonable and affordable price, because suppling food to the world at a reasonable price is a moral and ethical responsiblity that all farmers have to society. This is the food that my grandchildren eat and there is abslutely no way that I would allow them to have anything that might be harmful, after all they are what I value most in the world. thanks for listening. arnie the eggman
Morally and ethically, the egg industry does not have a leghorn to stand on.
Well, it’s clear, you are editing out most, if not all, of the negative comments. The film is biased and so are the editors of these comments. This is nothing more than a perpetration of the egg industry’s lies. Face it. There are a growing number of people who don’t want your stinking eggs.
It’s funny reading all of these vegan cultists proclaiming the healthy benefits of their unnatural diet. Especially funny is seeing how many quote Michael Pollan’s book, the “Omnivore’s Dilemma”. Even he does not advocate a carrot only diet. The Great Creator designed us to eat meat. I have spent the morning looking on-line for a single article blaming obesity on eating meat, and haven’t found one yet. However, it does appear that eating a diet high in carbs, ie: pasta and bread, could lead you down that road. Even the farmers and workers in Mike Rowe’s video appear trim and healthy. Or maybe its because of the hard work necessary to produce affordable, (and tasty), meat and dairy products. Don’t let the Veganites fool you. Who knows what they will want after they take your steak away.
I’m a fourth generation animal agriculturalist. I’m also finishing up my graduate degree at Stanford University, so I do have a foot in the science camp as well. It is an insult to compare our husbandry practices to the abomination that was human slavery. Our animals actually spend every waking hour with others of their species, engaging in animal-animal behavior. Food and forage are provided, and they are not on any predator animal’s menu. It is a country club environment compared to the cruel world of the animal kingdom. On the farm, we had pets and also had feral cats and coyotes in the neighborhood. Without the upbringing by a HUMAN, and the early and constant behavior modification to overcome their natural flight or fight instincts, comfort animals would not exist. A pet is more enslaved to its owners, yes owners!, than any agricultural animal. It is just plain silly to schedule time to take your Labrador to a dog park for an hour or so, so that it can frolic with other conditioned canines and condemn farmers for their production practices. If pet owners knew the true agenda of the animal rights zombies, and knew their long term goal was to eliminate pet OWNERSHIP, I suspect their constant and invasive fund raising practices would be a lot less successful. If anyone should be accused of propaganda, it is the leadership of HSUS and PETA.
The questions we must ask are these: How would we feel being treated as factory-farmed animals are treated? How would we like being confined to a cage for the whole of our lives, never allowed to engage in our most basic, natural behaviors? How would we like being slaughtered before we’ve even reached adulthood? It is as simple as following the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. The animals suffer in intense confinement, and that’s just as plain as the nose on our faces. Our “taste” for eggs is not worth their suffering.
One great point made in the video, we cannot make such an important decision based on one small groups opinion. There is so-called science on both sides of the issue. But it seems the Humane Society would have us make a decision based solely on one fragment of the entire matter. It sounds like these are the following issues:
1. the birds welfare
3. Less Food supply for average population
4. Less Food supply for the poor (those who rely on free egg products).
5. Paying higher prices by consumers
6. Loss of jobs for the Poultry Production Industry
7. Loss of jobs for Processing plants
8. Increased mortality for cageless birds
9. Increased disease for cageless birds
All of these issue should be considered when making such an important decision. My understanding, there are middle of the road comprimises available, so the cost will not wipe out smaller producers, but the birds welfare would be improved and stable.
The contribution of the egg industry to feed people of all levels of incomes,races,ages and nations is due to the scientific advancement of the American Egg Producer. Going retro in scientific acheivements is absurd.Current cage production techniques insure the consumer´s health as well as the chicken´s wellbeing. Going “cageless” is like going back to cave dwellings (are houses contaminants?), naked (taken wool off sheep and using fertilizer for cotton…¡man!),on foot (forget airplanes and autos,tractors et al).Let´s get to work, guys, we have a whole world to feed!There is no time to lose.
factory farming is incredibly cruel. this video is white-washed. pure propaganda. the conclusions are not substantiated “we’re going to end up buying eggs from other countries?” if we don’t continue with factory farming? pls.
You are AWESOME! I love so much the support you are showing the American Farmer. With all of the organizations lining up with false accusations against animal agriculture, this is just such a joy to see! I thank you so very much!
I have had the MISFORTUNE of interacting with PETA and it is my opinion that they only hear what they want to hear!! I have spent time in Mexico and other countries that are now supplying a lot of our food. It is amazing any of us survive. People need to learn and UNDERSTAND the facts!! Do not take the word of some “Star” as the holy truth! Most are totally ignorant when it comes to this industry and ploitics! They just like to hear themselves speak and boost their own ego’s!!
Animal rights is a lucrative industry making millions off the backs of innocent people. They will say whatever they need to say to get attention, money, and most inportant of all, the praise of the gullible. They think nothing of slandering and lying about the innocent people who produce our food. The sad thing is, they turn people off the real, important environemtal issues, and make people believe that things like pollution and habitat destruction aren’t real. Legitimate environmentalists, and there are lots of them, really should get more angry about this kind of nonsense giving them a bad name.
Mike- Thanks for the great video on the very difficult business of egg production. You did a wonderful job of capturing the essence of what is actually involved for the farmer. In my 30 years of poultry practice I have never met a farmer who does not truly care about his birds. They all understand that “If you take good care of your birds, they will take good care of you.”
I am offended by people who promote less efficient forms of production at the expense of efficient forms. People should be allowed to choose for themselves. The world food supply is limited. It must be understood that reducing food supply anywhere in the world reduces the food supply most where the food is most needed. When someone votes for regulations that reduce food supply, they are voting for someone in Subsaharan Africa to die.
In response to Audrey’s post from 1/15/2010 regarding the of hypocrisy of those who advocate for basic freedoms for farm animals while denying the rights of the pets they own. Today, most pet ownership is a result of overpopulation and giving a pet a comfortable home as opposed to the alternative. For pets, if well cared for are at least allowed to exercise some their natural instincts, while the farm animals in these intensive confinement systems have none.
Regarding your criticism of PETA for advocating spay/neuter programs I would ask that you first understand their position on pet ownership before criticizing.
“The international pastime of domesticating animals has created an overpopulation crisis; as a result, millions of unwanted animals are destroyed every year as “surplus.” This selfish desire to possess animals and receive love from them causes immeasurable suffering, which results from manipulating their breeding, selling or giving them away casually, and depriving them of the opportunity to engage in their natural behavior. Their lives are restricted to human homes where they must obey commands and can only eat, drink, and even urinate when humans allow them to.”
Thank you for the great video. It always makes me mad when
a small group of people want to tell me and my family how
we should or what we should eat. People have been eating
animals and animal products (eggs) since the beginning of
time and now it has become wrong? Keep up the good work.
Your show is our favorite.
Thanks Mike, you’re truly a gem. I work in the food business and I am proud to be an egg guy. The bottom line is, we all need to eat and we don’t need to tell each other how to do it. Same goes for praying – I’ll do it my way and everyone can do it their way or not at all, it’s a personal choice.
I will continue eating steak, eggs, Cap’t Crunch, little “machined” carrots, corn on the cob…and oh yea, washing it down with Diet Coke. A few of you may have a problem with that, most won’t.
Now here is an idea for everyone: instead of sending a check to some activist group that tells you about saving a cat or dog then spends it on a TV commercial, send some help towards a needy group of people. It’s not hard, I have, and it felt good.
Excuse me, I have seen free range egg production first hand, its not sanitary, the chickends basically eat their own you know what, additionally I dont want to pay $ 5.00 a dozen for my eggs nor do we need to lose more family farms and jobs, believe me when we stop producing eggs on a healthy and practical basis Im sure the Chineese will find a way to export then to the US
Those who argue that insects are animals too as a way of justifying this cruelty could not be farther from reality. Humans need to eat, and when we eat we have choices, all of which has some impact on other living beings. Some choices have a greater impact than others. To compare the insects that are harmed in plant production to the systematic brutality of billions of animals raised in the meat and dairy industry is incomparable. We need to eat, but we don’t need to eat meat or dairy, we eat it solely because we like the taste of it. I invite anyone to step inside an industrialized slaughter house and compare that to a wheat harvest and then tell me which one results in more suffering. Being vegan is not about following a strict set of rules and promoting your own personal purity, its about reducing animal suffering, the suffering of animals that are subjected to the abuse from the industry promoted in this video. It’s not about telling people what to eat rather than appealing to their sense of compassion to realize the impact of their food choices. People argue that it’s their choice to eat what they want, and ultimately it is, but does that still justify an animal suffering a life of misery and abuse for them to not realize the impact of that choice. There was also a time in the not so distant past when well respected people argued it was their choice to own slaves, but did that make it right?
I think this was very well done. I appreciate the approach that there are two sides to every story and only with research and discussion can we get any closer to resolution. I just wish the HSUS would take many of their millions of dollars and build a chicken farm that addresses all their concerns, the concerns of the consumer as they perceive it and it is economically viable. Unfortunately they have taken the position of legislating instead of leading.
The animal rights advocates continue their pattern of “do as I say, not as I do”. They want to give farm animals the right to express their natural behaviors. However, as pet owners, many of them deny their pets’ same desires. Coaching a pet to “hold it”, poop in a box, walk on a leash, behave in a purse, etc. are really not natural behavior. Do they let their pet birds fly around the house–with the window open? Isn’t a cage a cage? And the biggest denial of them all? “Spay or neuter your pet”. HSUS is currently promoting Spay day. PETA has a link that will direct you to a spay and neuter facility near your house. If we all followed their directive to the letter, we would soon run out of pets. Wonder if the Humaniacs would be willing to undergo the same type of procedure for consistency sake?
How can you proclaim to be both a pet loving cat or dog person and a vegan? Something ended up in the can. Same goes for organic agriculture. Plants not getting chemical nitrogen end up being fertilized with everything from animal manure to fish emulsion. There simply is not enough bat guano to go around. I’m a farmer. Listening to vegans lecture us on animal care is like letting atheists tell us how to pray.
Good Job Mike –
I applaud your support of the American Farmers with this sensible, unbiased video. It is unfortunate that most consumers don’t understand what it takes to produce the end product that they see in the grocery store. I guess they think it just happens. The American Egg industry has gone above and beyond reasonable measure to ensure quality and affordability of their product and yet they are continually challenged by the uninformed. If all of PETA’s demands come to fruition we would be left with sickly chickens, bacteria laden eggs, and a devastated industry. The eggs would be produced outside the country, where there is no regulation. Those poor birds…. Keep in mind that I do not work for the egg industry but I can spot a BAD deal when I see it. As a nation we are over regulated already, now we have to put up with this? Please!!!!
Farmers are under attack in this country and when is it going to stop? People take their food for granted and then complain that other country’s don’t have enough to feed themselves. Thanks Mike for setting the record straight and telling the real truth.
INSECTS ARE ANIMALS TOO!!
Stop the senseless killing of insects. More animals are killed in the production of fruits, vegetables and grains than any other food group. Stop the hypocrisy, stop the torture. VEGANS STOP EATING!! How would you like it if we tried to take your choices away. Let the consumer choose.
Egg farmers today following the United Egg Producers humane guidelines provide the safest,cleanest and the most beneficial enviornment the egg laying hen has ever experienced. The independant scientific advisory committee which represents the top academians,scientists andhumane association members which developed these standards have addressed every aspect of welfare standards for egg laying hens.
This is one of the finest examples of propaganda covering up animal exploitation that I have ever seen. You must be really proud of yourselves. You even bought Mike Rowe. It is amazing just how deep the animal agriculture’s pockets truly are.
As an Egg Farmer, I have to say that I agree that Consumers should have their Choice on the type of confinement system the hens are raised under. Prop 2 provided no such choice. That being said, we are trying to provide a California egg without going out of business here in California and need consistent rules so the marketplace can decide. If we are even 1 cent a dozen higher in our prices to the chains, they will switch to cheaper out of state eggs in an instant. Take a look at “Enriched Housing Systems” which comply with the Prop 2 requirements and still have a chance to improve hen welfare as defined by lower disease rates and lower mortality than cage free or caged systems, and still separate chickens from their waste.
We’d be far better off to simply quit eating eggs. They are not healthful, loaded with cholesterol, and whatever nutrients they do contain are better and more humanely derived from plant foods. What is not discussed in the film is the fact that at least 50% of all hatched chicks are male and, therefore, useless to the egg industry. These baby … See Moreanimals are brutally destroyed by grinding them up alive or heaping them into trash bins to die slowly by suffocation. In addition, the female chicks still have their beaks painfully mutilated, and when their egg-laying days ore over and they are “spent,” they are still slaughtered while completely sensible to pain, having their throats slashed or being scalded alive if their throats have escaped the cutting blades. The hens never see the light of day, never feel the sun on their feathers, never scratch in the earth, and never know joy. All their most basic wants and desires are denied them. Californians have voted and they have voted against this type of intensive confinement for egg-laying hens, calves raised for veal, and pregnant sows. It is time to put our values straight and treat all animals as if they matter, which they do, and not as machines for humans to exploit. GoVeg.com–for humanity, for animals, for earth.
The thing I disagree with most is the comment that this caged egg production will meet the ever growing “need” for eggs. We certainly don’t need eggs, or any animal products at all.
That aside, I’m disappointed that no mention was given to the grinding of day old male chicks… Or that these hens who live such miserable lives will be faced with an equally cruel slaughter, at a fraction of their life span. Why? Simply because they are no longer “productive”.
I found it amusing too that there was mention of protecting these (caged) birds from predators. Ha! We do know that we are the biggest “predator” of them all.
I have given a home to 12 “egg hens”. They were due to be gassed with 850,000 other cell mates because they had peaked their egg-laying productivity. To see these girls walk on solid ground for the first time… and to witness them spread their wings – And fly! was an eye opening experience for me. Till then I never fully realized the miserable lives egg birds live.
These girls now get to dust bath, lay in the sun, fly up to roost, peck and forage in the earth like every creature should be able to.
Perhaps we’ve reached the point that if this is the only way we can consume the ovaries of chickens… it’s time we question if we “need” to at all.
I’m a little confused if everyone is arguing animal welfare or animals rights here. There is a big difference. Mike is narrating a video in regards to animal welfare.
As for Animal Rights: To be able to enjoy certain concrete rights within a social system, a moral agent also has certain duties towards others within that same system. For example, one can claim the right to free speech, yet one is thereby duty bound to protect the freedom of speech for all others. Animals kill and consume living beings (other animals and/or plants) in order to survive, and it is in their “interest” to survive and multiply according to the rule of the “survival of the fittest.” In this latter sense, “interest” means simply self-interest, as in an individual advantage or benefit without regard to any accompanying obligations towards all others.
Well I have to hand it to you for twisting the truth so creatively that anyone not aware of the reality of the cruelty of battery cages and factory farming in general may swallow this propaganda and be reassured they are not part of the problem of this cruel and inhumane treatment of living creatures in consuming their eggs and bacon. How do you manage to sleep at night? Oh, yes, that’s right, you have no conscience…what was I thinking!
I love animals, I really do – my pet family is all pet rescues but one thing that really bothers me about certain animal rights groups is their lack of human reality. In a perfect world the chicken would just drop in the barnyard after a long life and offer itself for human for consumption. This is not a perfect world and the fact the certain people believe we should never eat anything that has ever been alive or have a pulse is condescending and short sighted. That salad you are eating right now was once a living thing.
Have your beliefs but don’t tell me what I should or shouldn’t consume.
Treating animals humanly is important but also respecting the rights of humans, who believe we have the right to grow our own food, farm and offer the product for others.
Those who enjoy omelets are not barbarians. Those who are responsible farmers are not either.
The rights of animals, the rights of man are paramount to us but extremists accusations often lose sight of reality and all that is left is outlandish accusations which are no more helpful to anyone then what you would find at the bottom of a bird cage.
Thank you to all the responsible farmers who do care about animals and who do care about offering a safe and proper product for consumers.
I honestly don’t know how these farmers and the people who defend them can sleep at night. What is it like to devote one’s life to that kind of cruelty? And why not show the whole story? The millions of male chicks who get piled into dumpsters to suffocate or are tossed alive into grinders. And the millions of chickens who are still alive at the slaughter house when they are dropped into the scalding tanks. And how about a little more honesty with the camera angles to show how little space the caged chickens actually have.
Nobody needs eggs in their diet, and if this is the cost of producing them, it is absolutely inexcusable to eat them.
This show was dishonest and shameful.
I think you are a little self-centered as an American when you say that world-hunger can afford a penny per egg increase on food. Even a 12¢/dz increase (I think the true cost would be much more) is huge in other countries like Haiti that import American eggs. The people of Haiti live on an average income of just $100/yr!! A “small” increase here causes pour people everywhere to starve. Open your eyes Larry! The world doesn’t have enough food and people are starving, but instead of trying to solve the problem you decide to blast your self-absorbed opinion on this site. I think Mike is just trying to be honest. As for everyone who says Mike is for cage production I suggest you take another listen to the video. Mike is merely narrating the video – the farmers, scientist, and veterinarians are the ones forming the opinion.
Sorry to burst everybody’s bubble here, but this “movie” is grossly misleading. Question–why does every undercover video reveal a completely different picture of caged hens? I see hens in cramped cages, unable to spread their wings with wire floors.. are those just animal actors that were hired by animal welfare groups? and enough with the word “activists” and “extremists”… civil rights leaders were thought of as “extremists” when they wanted women and blacks to have equal rights…….there’s a big difference between animal “activists” and people simply looking for animals to be treated humanely…if you want to eat eggs–go right ahead, but don’t delude yourself into thinking that caged hens aren’t yet another tortured animal in the food chain…thank you
This video was one-sided and came across as an infomercial paid for by the United Eggs Produced (a discredited trade organization). Battery cage egg production is widely known to be a detriment to the environment, to food safety and human health, and one, if not the, most cruel forms of confinement used on factory farms today.
For anyone that argues that battery cage egg production is required in order for us to sustain our current levels of egg consumption, let’s suggest that Americans consume less eggs. With cholesterol levels and obesity rates consistently rising, and with the staggering amounts of water and grain used to feed to egg laying hens, eating fewer eggs makes a lot of sense.
There is no need at all for humans to enslave animals of any kind simply to fulfill the desire of for a particular taste.
It is certainly disappointing to see Mike Rowe be paid to promote the cruelty of battery cages and the UEP. In 2005, the Federal Trade Commission forced the UEP to remove their label “Animal Care Certified” from egg cartons around the country because it was deceiving to the public. Hens in battery cages are routinely subjected practices so cruel, it would result in criminal prosecution if we treated cats and dogs the same way.
Big fan here, but I was bummed to see that you accepted donations from the United Egg Producers to promote the cruelty of battery cages. I agree with Elizabeth that you missed this opportunity to promote healthier and more humane alternatives to battery cages.
“Shame on Mike?” Really? Really? And “horribly cruel egg industry.” Really? I suppose a harsh reality is if you’re not a vegan or vegetarian then at some point some thing is going to give up their life to feed the rest of us. For that, I’m eternally grateful. Can there and should there be regulations in the food industry? Absolutely. But again, please don’t tell me what I can/should be eating. I wouldn’t do that to you!
Shame on Mike for supporting the horribly cruel egg industry.
Hi Mike I just wanted to say thank you for a well done video showing a modern day egg laying operation.We in the animal agriculture industry appreciate your support of the american farmer and the work that we do 7 days a week. Some of the nay sayers out there really have no clue about how food is produced or for that matter for producing a safe product that all people can afford. One individual even mentioned the inventiveness of the american farmer and how we should be able to come up with a better method. Step up to the plate and get it done right now if you think it is so easy. The guidelines developed by the UEP didn’t just happen overnight but they take a lot of things into consideration concerning the health and welfare of the chickens. We do have the best system for producing the safest, best quality and most affordable food in the world. Thanks Mike for helping get the word out. Mike
These animals have no life to speak of. The images are sanitized but still repulsive.
The animal experts who claim the system is humane are lying to themselves and to us. You can even see it on their faces–all that blinking and pausing. I don’t think they believe what they’re saying.
Just watched the video and it really opened my eyes. Good to see the other side of the coin. I have to admit I voted for the measure out here in California to restrict egg farmers because I thought I was doing good. Wish I could take it back! For the record, my only real association with the egg industry is I like to eat eggs! Don’t think I would ever become a vegan, not that there is anything wrong with that! It’s just not for me. And I’m pretty sure a lot more people feel the same way they’re just not as vocal. Which is a shame. How about this, you eat what you want, and I’ll eat what I want and everyone can end up happy!
Glad you explained your financial bias up front; otherwise I might have taken this as your actual opinion and those camera angles as the best your team could do to show us how small a space each bird actually has.
And some shots of the baby males chicks being ground alive at the hatchery would have helped advance the picture the egg industry animal welfare program.
This is brilliant propaganda. For example, there is no mention of the slaughter of millions of day old male chicks in the layer industry.
Looks like a group of friends got together and started a campaign to post their disapproval of Mike’s message in this video all of a sudden.
Mike – I think the message in this video is a very good one. I think we’d all be wise to really understand what’s being said here.
And no, I won’t send the link around to my co-workers just so they can all jump on the bandwagon and spam you. I promise.
Hi Mike, I’m usually a huge fan of your show but I’m very disappointed with your promotion of battery cages, a production practice that’s so cruel it’s been banned in California, Michigan, and the entire European Union. Hens confined in these cages are unable to engage in vital natural behaviors such as spreading their wings, standing on solid ground, or even walking more than a few inches. Each hen is given less space than a single sheet of paper to live for her entire life. Because of this abuse, restaurant chains (like Wendy’s, Burger King, Denny’s, etc), grocery stores (like Costco, Safeway, etc.), and universities are moving away from selling eggs from caged birds. Instead of attempting to promote a practice that’s increasingly becoming criminal animal cruelty and buyers of eggs are refusing to buy from these confinement operations, the egg industry should devote its resources to shifting to more humane operations.
Mike, here’s some information you may not be aware of about the United Egg Producers. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) ruled in 2003 (and upheld in 2004) that the UEP was misleading consumers about animal welfare—here’s a New York Times about UEP’s problems with the BBB and the Federal Trade Commission (http://bit.ly/67Oo4M). Even more, 17 attorneys general asserted that the UEP was falsely advertising animal welfare claims. The UEP paid $100,000 to settle those AGs’ claims—here’s an article about this case: http://bit.ly/7tsPa7. And the UEP is the defendant in more than 20 class action lawsuits for illegal price fixing—here’s one of many articles: http://bit.ly/6UtcA1. The UEP couldn’t be less credible regarding animal welfare or public trust.
Thanks for your time reading this, Mike. I know you’re an avid supporter of farmers, which is wonderful. Next time, you may consider promoting farming methods aren’t cruel to animals.
I respect the hard work of our nation’s farmers. But sadly, we’ve gotten so far away from what farming once was…and that’s our own fault.
I know and agree that some methods are not as sustainable…and can’t provide as well for the demand of the consumer. But should the animals and the environment suffer because of our overconsumption? And just because we want to pay as little as possible? The savings upfront are certainly going to be lost with the damage we end up doing in the long term.
An egg laying hen having the space less than a size of a sheet of paper to live out her entire life is pathetic. It’s cruel. All so we can have cheaper eggs? An egg industry’s own economist estimated the cost of switching to cage-free eggs to be LESS than a penny an egg. That figure came from the Industry itself.
Just because someone wishes to see the animals who ‘serve us’ treated well…it’s not a Vegetarian issue or an Omnivore issue.
Our farmers are incredibly inventive people. They’ve proven this in the past. I know they can come up with a better system. Battery Cages don’t afford these birds the ability to perform any of their natural behaviors. They can’t spread their wings, they can’t dust bathe…they stand on wire their entire lives. They aren’t machines and yet we are treating them as though they are. And when their egg production declines, they are sent to slaughter. If they are going to provide quality food for us, shouldn’t we afford them as much comfortability as possible for their brief lives?
It seems pretty common sense to me that keeping thousands and thousands of birds crammed together would cause more risk of disease…at least the same, if not more, as giving them more space. Manure does fall from the cages, yes…but sometimes right onto the birds in the cages below them. I’d hope to be a bird kept up top! Then again, if I were a bird, I’d hope to not be kept in a file-cabinet sized drawer for my entire life.
Do we really believe we’re going to import eggs from other countries? It’s just not going to happen. And as for free-range, these birds will go where their food and water is…which is most likely inside the barn. They rarely ever go outside so the chances of contracting Avian Influenza…it seems more like a scare tactic than anything.
This wasn’t exactly the most balanced piece. It’s disappointing to see what seems to be a paid advertisement for cruel battery cage facilities. At least you were honest about the people you are promoting making a large donation to your group. As for UEP…United Egg Producers…basically Industry repping themselves. Not necessarily the best way to do things.
Would love to see another piece with people not so in the Industry’s pocket.
Love the show and always seem to stop there when flipping through channels. This episode, however, was very disappointing. Hens kept in battery cages spend their days unable to engage in nearly any of their natural habits, like perching, nesting, dust-bathing, foraging, roaming, or even flapping their wings.
Hens aren’t the only chickens that suffer on industrial egg farms. Because they don’t lay eggs, male chicks are useless to the egg industry. They are gassed, crushed, discarded in trash bags to suffocate, or simply piled one on top of another, to die from dehydration or asphyxiation.
I really wish you would have done more with this episode.
Ditto to what others have said, I’m a huge fan of the show, but am hugely disappointed to see this distorted one-sided promotion of the cruel battery cage system.
ok, i usually like this show, but i have to agree with others that this video is just plain wrong. of course egg producers think it’s ok to keep birds in those small wire cages — they are ones profiting from it. but now mike rowe is getting paid to promote this cruelty? telling the truth is a tough job–try tackling that for an upcoming episode highlighting the miserable reality of egg factory farming.
I’m usually a huge fan of your work, but this video was really disappointing to me. Battery cages are heinously cruel, and no one should promote them. There are better options for the chickens, for the environment, and for the farmers, and this was a missed opportunity to recognize them.
having grown up in farm country and watching my grandpa raising hens for eggs i am very glad that the egg producing facilities have become what they are today. Chickens are not the cleanest beasts in the world – quite the opposite actually. my grandpa’s henhouse had cages, but nothing like they had today. he would go in once a week and clean up the floor and the eggs had to be collected on a daily basis by hand. he was ahead of his time back in the early 50s. the other side of the story is that when the hens got too old to lay they were then butchered for sale and for the family dinner table. we had slaughter day and every member of the family that was old enough did their part in the process. kids pulled feathers, wet feathers – yum!! my thing being that today’s standards not only take into account for the health and well being of the chickens, but the humans as well. I am all for that and applaud the people who raise chickens both for eggs and to eat. It is very hard work and I appreciate everything that they do.
Dear Mike, I LOVE your shows and watch all I find. Since I could be your grandmother (I’m only 90 yrs. old) I want to
ask you to please not use God’s name when you express anything. I’ve loved your clean language but sometimes you
say God when you’re not praying!!!!!!!!!! Please accept this bit of advice and again, I love your shows and may
The Lord bless you.
Sincerely, Mrs. Elnora McGraw
I appreciate the fact that this video talked about both aspects of the ethics involved here. Now when we are faced the question is this system ethical often time people only consider the the animals but the impact on the consumer certainly should be a deciding factor. As for free range and other alternatives I think they are fine as long as they can be equal in quality and just as cost effective.
Thank you Mike! My wife and I watch your “Dirty Jobs” show often and enjoy it. I am directly associated with the egg industry–I sell the equipment to take care of the chickens–and I know many of the people in this industry and they are all good folks doing their best at a pretty tough job. Thanks for your stand up and speak out attitude! And thanks for telling the whole story.
Dennis & Jeani Huggard
American Fork, Utah
I think People don’t realize in the first place that chickens are Raptors they are carnivors,therefore they eat MEAT if they dont get what they NEED from the vegetarein feeds they eat, they ARE GOING TO EAT EACH OTHER!
For Concerned Citizen,Yes the vinegar in the water is a good idea,it helps keeps some of the bacteria out of it. one quick fix to keep your girls from pecking each other,(PETA’S not gonna like this)is to put out some suet for them to peck at,ask for it at the MEAT dept. of your local store,then as you say put more protien in your feed.
Another reason the egg industry is in such bad shape,is because for too long it has been letting people who know NOTHING about the chicken business (PETA for example) tell it how to raise chickens. the egg industry didnt just start doing what they do now, the advances in chicken developement and how to care for them has evolved in the last 100 years to the high standards that are in use, the states that are making egg producers go to cage free eggs ARE going to see a rise in egg prices,they set the industry BACK 50 years,clearly a case of not knowing what farmers do in order to keep their birds safe from canabulism,scratching in,and EATING their own POOP!
Most people in the cities have no idea where their food comes from,sure they’ll tell you from a farm if you ask them,but they have a picture book idea of what a farm is.they think a farmer sits up on a green tractor with a straw hat and smiles as the sun shines in the back ground. they dont realise that the equpiment most farmers use cost more than many of their HOUSES,they break down, they get dirty,more farmers go hungry than youll EVER know, and you get people who live in big fancy houses and drive big fancy cars tell them they are murders because they produce livestock for a living! or not really because most farmers cant afford to “farm” they have to work a second job to keep up with the costs of living on a farm!!! Whoops, got on my soap box.
Great video! As someone who has both parents working in the egg industry, I can honestly say we are proud to have you as an ally. Some of the posted comments call you work “bias” but I disagree with this statement. You point out in the beginning of your video about the ol’ days of farming when everyone did grow their own food and it was great. My hat goes off to the people who still grow a majority of their own food; I think that is absolutely wonderful. But, for the other 95% of the population who wants to buy SAFE and FAIRLY PRICED food at the grocery store, America’s egg system is working. It is not perfect but it effectively gets a safe, nutritious product to the market place at a fair price.
Voters in California recently passed the Cage Ban which takes effect sometime in the next 5 years. In my opinion they have done nothing more than put California’s egg producers out of business. They have no way to compete with eggs which will be imported from other states for a fraction of the price. By going cage free, producers will have to cut the number of birds they have drastically. The bird’s disease rate and mortality will rise, while the number of birds housed will be cut drastically.
For people who prefer cage free eggs because of their personal beliefs, the eggs are available at almost any grocery store. And as for people who THINK they know what is best for our animals and even the rest of the public, they should realize that our system of care is a proven way to maximize bird’s health and production. And for those of you who demand that our nation go cage free, get educated from a source other than an extreme animal rights group who picks the worst cases of abuse and promotes them as a general practice.
Thanks again Mike for a great video.
I’d hardly say that Mother Earth News is not “biased” or did “extensive” nutritional studies about pastured eggs vs. conventional eggs. I think “extensive” would imply a study of more than just 84 different pastured eggs as the study referenced below (“We had six eggs from each of the 14 pastured flocks tested..”) This article was pretty one-sided and opinionated. The term “crowded” when referring to the conventional housing systems for store bought eggs is an obvious use of opinion.
You may be right that pastured eggs are higher in some nutrients – the science is still being debated, however, conventional store bought are still very healthy and at a cost of $1.30/dz they are a fantastic value.
Since we are referencing articles here I’d suggest everyone read this about Protein playing a major role in disease prevention.
I personally think that it is very realistic if we produced eggs in any other manner we would have to either import low-skilled labor or the eggs them self. Your choice: Automation; low-paying low-skilled jobs; or eggs that are trucked in from other countries that could be several weeks old by the time they reach the store. I like fresh eggs that are washed and packed within hours of being laid.
Just look at the numbers – most countries produce less eggs than they consume and import them from other countries. Countries like China who routinely import eggs from the US. FYI – the eggs from the US don’t get overnighted to China btw. Think about it..
Thanks Mike for your hard work and for showing the hard work of American farmers, you do a great job and we love your show.
We have a “factory farm” and work hard 7 days a week to take care of our chickens and to produce quality affordable eggs. We grow crops and had jobs away from home. We started out with chickens in the backyard but going into eggs full time allowed us to be home with our children and give them jobs on the farm (the chores may be different then years ago but it is really the same). Not only are we doing our best to produce safe and healthy food for ALL to eat but we are giving jobs to people.
I agree with some of the other comments, we should not be forced to eat like others choose to eat (most Americans can’t afford to eat like that). Last I knew I was living in the USA and I still had rights but we are slowly losing them to people whose main agenda is only to get rich by scaring people into thinking the way they think and not being very truthful in the way they do it.
Swell. Now I have this visual of Foghorn Leghorn stretched out on a chaise, by the pool, in the sun, with his RayBans on and a salad on his lap. Nice life if you can get it.
Mike – saw the show and thought it was really good! Factual and a real-world view of the business. The Hickkmans are expanding into Iowa and we are proud to have them.
Thanks for putting this information out there. I don’t see the bias in it that Bucketgirl did. I don’t hear you saying this is the only alternative, but a neccesary one if we are to feed the world. As the cheapest protein in the world it’s terribly important that we make sure there is a safe, affortable supply of eggs for the world. Free-range and movable pens are great for those who have the desire but they cannot provide the volume of eggs the world needs. They also come with their own set of problems. I believe the key is to allow different systems so there are choices. Thanks for giving us a chance to heard the often unheard side of the story.
Remember everyone, this is America. We value freedom…freedom to be vegan, vegetarian, or carnivor…freedom to buy organic, cage-free, brown or white AND commerical table eggs. Yeah for choices! Lets keep them all!
Perhaps BucketGirl should read this inquiry that was made to Mother Earth News from a producer of those “Healthier Hens/Better Eggs”. The reality of cage free and free range is far different than the idealism and myths would have you believe:
“Is there any home remedy anyone knows of to stop chickens from pecking each other I know they sell Stop Peck it is a 4oz. spray bottle for $16.00 and the ingredients is soap,hot pepper,herbs. it is suppose to taste bad so they won’t peck at each other and the wounds can heal. I also heard of using pine tar I can’t picture painting 25 chicken with tar. I was told I had to change their feed to more protein which I will try but that won’t help right away. I already lost 3 chickens because they bullied them to death. I have 2 more separated because the were wounded. I got rid of 6 young hens that just started laying because I thought they might be causing this behavior by being more aggressive they were Red Stars. I am now trying adding 2 tlbs. of cider vinagar per gallon of water which I read on the internet in their feed water. Does anyone have any more suggestion I don’t want to get rid of my chickens but I am getting scared to go in the chicken coop to see what happened next. Any help will be appreciated.
Thanks Mike for helping get the word out.
Bravo Mike!! Excellent job explaining the need for these large production style farms. All these animal rights people don’t seem to care that the mutitudes of starving people,even here in the USA, need food at the most affordable cost it can be produced. I don’t think the people in food lines and shelters across the country care if the egg or product that contains eggs care if they are cage free or not.
Big fan, and I don’t miss a show!
Mike, thank you again for your willingness to show people just how hard agricultural work is. It takes courage to recognize your food comes from somewhere outside the grocery store, and Clint, it takes courage to create that food for people that don’t understand what goes in to it (especially when they continue to make it more difficult).
I’m not sure what bucketgirl is so upset about. I think Mike has done a very nice job (as he always does) of explaining the complexities of farming and that we should all better understand where our food comes and who produces it. Once we’ve gathered all those FACTS, then we can make informed and educated purchases. However, we should not be so arrogant to take away other’s choices just to further our own beliefs or agendas. Like most things in life, we can’t fully comprehend the how, why, when and the what unless we are actually in that business. ALL farmers are under appreciated and to me it seems like Mike is just supporting “farmers”…what’s so wrong with that???
Nice job Mike! Keep on speaking for the common man and woman that is out there just trying to get by during these difficult times. And thanks to the American Farmer for providing my family with safe, affordable food that is being produced in the USA. With so many items coming from China these days, thank God for the American Farmer so we’re not getting our food from China also…
Great video Mike! Thank you so much for doing this, and for what you do to raise the visibility of the hard working American farmers. It seems everybody wants cheap, abundant food, but no one respects the farmers who are always producing more with less, and caring about the environment and the animals in their charge along the way.
Eggs are an important source of nutrition, and need to be readily available and affordable for all consumers. While I much prefer the eggs from our home flock of chickens, I recognize the need for large-scale efficient egg production models. There is still room for the small family farmer to produce free-range eggs (and chickens, as my family farm does)to direct market to consumers. It lets people know who their farmer is, and allows people to vote with their pocketbook for the production method they support.
I hope there will be more videos in this series.
I thought this video fairly presents the job of producing eggs for consumption in this country. Personally, I am more interested in what the chickens are being fed. I need to purchase eggs from hormone free and preferably vegetarian fed chickens.
If hens are running around they are particularly good at keeping the garden free of insect pests and gobbling up all sorts of nasty things. They also exhibit a constant need for establishing a hierarchy with pecking and chasing and general chaos that I have not noticed in the caged hens in this video and others I’ve seen.
A farmer once told me, when I blurted out my concern for some horribly scrawny cows in a field in Jamaica, “When the people are living poorly, there isn’t much concern about the livestock, Kathy.” Mr. Paul Thompson PhD brought this topic up in the video, and it is true.
Thanks Mike for expressing your feelings on this topic, and to Clint for adding his expertise.
I loved it! I grew up on a farm in Missouri and remember collecting eggs every morning from the chicken coop. I think you nailed it when you said it may be quaint to think of grandma’s farm, but today’s realities of feeding a population of 340 million people with clean, safe food doesn’t lend itself to backyard gardens (even though I have one of those myself!).
While I prefer to buy $2.50 cage free eggs, I know that so many people are struggling with unemployment and other economic issues and they can’t afford those expensive eggs, but they can afford the $1/dozen regulareggs and I don’t think they should have that choice taken away from them by the vegans at Mother Earth News or any other group just because they don’t eat eggs at all!
Great video that gives the public a good understanding of what the impact could be if farmers were legislated out of conventional cage egg production. Everyone needs to understand that animal activists such as the Humane Society of the United States and PETA want to legislate or litigate egg, pork, and veal farmers out of business. Why – because they want to create a vegetarian society. I noticed that Bucketgirl referenced Joel Salatin. He doesn’t eat eggs or meat and is urging everyone to become a vegetarina. While cage-free, free-range or organic egg production may sound nice and people are more than welcome to produce or buy these products, it simply is not sustainable when you finally understand that we can not produce nearly enough eggs to meet the market demands in those systems. Thanks Mike for telling the story about hard-working egg farmers that strive to produce an abundance of affordable, safe food 7 days a week.
I read through your comments, and I really appreciate all of them. I will have to say upfront, I am REALLY biased when it comes to the issue on various practices when it comes to egg production. You will probably gather that through both my comments, and also how Mike talks in this video about my family’s farming business. I actually do not think that Mike takes a position either for or against conventional, cage free or free range egg production in the video, I think he is just wanting people to understand what egg farmers have to deal with on a day to day basis, and how at every step, we do the best we can. Many of us in egg farming have flocks that are housed in all three styles mentioned above. So clearly, we are operating under the mindset of providing choice to our customers. Our company was proud to be profiled on Dirty Jobs, we were proud to give Mike and company the keys to the farm for two days, and we were very proud on how the segment turned out. Please know that the few of us left in this industry realize we aren’t perfect, but we absolutely do our best to feed the nation, one egg at a time.
Wow Mike, I’m a super big fan, but I found this video to be pretty biased! Mother Earth News has done some extensive nutritional studies on truly pastured eggs vs. grocery store eggs, and the difference is striking.
I don’t think it’s realistic to say if we didn’t have hens in cages, we would have to import eggs. There are a lot of other solutions out there that are better than factory farming. First, I have hens at my urban home for my own eggs.
Second, if you look into Joel Salatin’s work, or read Omnivore’s Dilemma, or just read a little more in general about chicken husbandry, you will see that you can get a fantastic supply of nutritionally superior eggs on a small amount of open air land using management intensive grazing.
An animal in a biodiverse environment, in the sunshine, supplimenting their diet with fresh food, is ultimately going to be a healthier animal that produces healthier food.
Sure, a well managed factory farm is certainly a fine thing, but it’s not the only thing. And the most modern thing is not always the best thing.
I think you should check out the valid points of lots of different types of farming, including tractoring chickens outside for meat and eggs, and not just promote factory farming as the misunderstood hero of the American food system.