The pledge by McDonald's to start using cage-free eggs is only a small step in preventing the staggering suffering endured by millions of birds.
Hatcheries that annually supply 200 million female hens for U.S. egg production, including cage-free, also kill the same number of male chicks at birth by grinding them up alive in industrial macerators or suffocating them slowly in plastic garbage bags.
The female laying hens endure a lifetime of misery, crammed with others in small wire-mesh cages that cut into their feet and tear out their feathers. Waste from millions of egg-laying hens ends up in waterways, rendering vast areas unsuited for recreation or drinking water.
Additionally, eggs are common carriers of food-borne bacteria. Eggs contain saturated fat and cholesterol, key factors in incidence of heart disease, stroke, cancer, and diabetes. They are a common cause of allergies in children.
The good news for compassionate, health-conscious, eco-friendly consumers is that our local supermarket offers a number of delicious egg substitutes and egg-free food products.