Saturday, 8 October 2011

Eggs are unhealthy for you, painful for chickens

A recent study found that men who consumed more than 2.5 eggs per week had 81% increased risk of lethal prostate cancer compared to men who consumed less than 0.5 eggs per week [1]. This isn't an isolated finding. Looking to the medical journals, eggs have often turned up as a risk factor in cancer development [2,3,4,5] , including (ironically) ovarian cancer [6].

The number of cancer studies implicating eggs is remarkable enough to be a concern (see numbered references below). In contrast, whole plant foods are generally found to be protective against cancer. If the choice is between eating egg and getting cancer, it is better to stay on the side of caution. Have you ever seen someone suffer from cancer? There is nothing that tastes so good that it is worth getting that disease.

Eggs also have large amounts of cholesterol. The dietary requirement for cholesterol is zero; the body makes all it needs. To quote a review in a Canadian journal, "Stopping the consumption of egg yolks after a stroke or myocardial infarction would be like quitting smoking after a diagnosis of lung cancer: a necessary action, but late" [7]. This short video has more discussion on the research: .

Egg laying chickens endure possibly the worst suffering of any farmed animal. Their sensitive beak tips seared off, they are worked until they can produce no more, then trucked in crates to the slaughterhouse at a young age. The male chicks are economically useless and meet an early death.  

Most free range egg operations are hardly any better.

Having backyard chickens is becoming popular again, but do you know what conditions the layers were hatched in? The hatching and selling of day-old layer birds is poorly regulated and has parallels with the puppy mill industry. And what happened to all the male birds? What happens when the chickens stop producing? Even at the "kinder" egg operations,  the birds don't really get to express their complex social needs. The birds are sold off to some unknown fate when their production rate declines.

Eggs are a popular breakfast menu item for cafes in Canberra - it almost seems like the national breakfast food. They are automatically included in many recipes when other alternatives are available. There is a curious fetishisation of eggs in food writing.  It's time to let this go, for our own health and for the chickens.

... and remember: vegans don't eat eggs !


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