Its time for egg industry to eliminate cruel and unsafe cages affluent magazine
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Its time for egg industry to eliminate cruel and unsafe cages affluent magazine

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Its time for egg industry to eliminate cruel and unsafe cages affluent magazine Its time for egg industry to eliminate cruel and unsafe cages affluent magazine Document Transcript

  • LIFESTYLE IN THE WAKE OF THE EGG RECALL, IT’S TIME FOR THE EGG INDUSTRY TO ELIMINATE CRUEL AND UNSAFE CAGES By Michael Greger, MD very year, tens of thousands of Americans suffer as a result cages creates an immense volume of contaminated airborne fecal dust E of an egg-borne Salmonella epidemic that has become so commonplace it receives little attention unless the levels of infection become high enough to trigger a national recall. that can rapidly spread Salmonella infection between birds. Other factors blamed for increasing Salmonella risk in cage operations include the inability to effectively disinfect the cage equipment That’s exactly what happened this summer when public health officials between flocks, the swarms of rodent and insect vectors that breed in discovered a quadrupling of weekly Salmonella cases — prompting the the massive manure pits beneath the cages, and the immune-crippling investigation that led to the vast national egg recall. What most stress of extreme confinement on the hens themselves. consumers don’t know is that the Food and Drug Administration estimates 142,000 Americans get Salmonella food poisoning from eggs A study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology every year, recall or no recall. suggests that the risk to consumers could be cut in half if the industry moved to cage-free systems. Every one of the last 10 scientific studies Most Salmonella victims suffer only acute bouts of gastroenteritis, comparing conventional cage and cage-free egg operations found which are serious enough. But Salmonella infection can have life-long higher Salmonella in operations that confine hens in cages, including consequences, such as chronic arthritis. Children, who are at especially a 2010 study that found 20 times greater odds of Salmonella infection high risk for infection, can experience persistent irritable bowel in caged flocks. syndrome. And worst, Salmonella is the leading cause of food borne illness-related death. This is an epidemic with no end in sight — and one that calls for the egg industry to stop According to U.S. Department of Agriculture calculations, one in confining hens in cages. 20,000 eggs is likely contaminated with Salmonella. So that’s millions of Salmonella-tainted eggs distributed annually. And that’s in a good Michigan and California have already passed laws to phase out year — before this latest outbreak ever happened. cages. California also just passed a law requiring that all whole eggs sold statewide be cage-free by 2015. In Ohio this year, agriculture The mistreatment of hens is one reason millions of Salmonella- leaders agreed to support a moratorium on the construction of new infected eggs reach American supermarkets in such numbers. battery cage egg facilities. Cramming hundreds of thousands of birds under a single roof in tiny Wright County Egg and Hillandale Farms, the factory farms implicated in the latest recall, are not just bad eggs. Food safety issues inherent to caging hens put all egg consumers at risk. It’s time for the egg industry to phase out these hazardous and merciless cages. Dr. Michael Greger is director of Public Health and Animal Agriculture in the farm animal welfare division for the Humane Society of the United States. Help Make A Difference: Cramming hens into cages is inhumane and poses a threat to food safety. For more information, please visit www.humanesociety.org Photo Credit: Humane Society of the United States and get involved.32 AFFLUENT MAGAZINE