Spring a Hen to Freedom: Go Egg-Free Easter and Beyond
Start a new tradition this Easter!
Chickens are awesome animals, deserving of our respect and compassion…but that isn’t how most chickens are treated on farms. And even on the nicest farms, hens are still slaughtered and male chicks killed. Let’s celebrate Easter with compassion.
Want to take the Brave the Cage Challenge? If you are in northern California, join Animal Place on Friday March 20th at the Capitol in Sacramento (north side) from 11-1 pm or on March 28th from 12-3 pm at Lake Merritt in Oakland. See if you can spend a few minutes inside our human-sized battery cage!
Pledge to go egg-free this Easter and enter to win a dozen Eggnots ceramic eggs!
- Male chicks are killed the day they are sexed. In the US, 150-200 million are are ground up alive each year.
- No federal law protects chickens, they can be raised and killed in any way a farmer sees fit.
- 95% of hens on egg farms are confined to cages so small they cannot spread their wings.
- Hens from the egg industry are killed at 1-2 years, though they can live another 5-8.
- Hens are mutilated. Their nerve-rich beaks are removed (de-beaked) without pain relief.
- Cage free does not mean cruelty free. Thousands of hens are confined to filthy, toxic sheds, debeaked without painkillers, and slaughtered each year.
- 300 million hens are killed each year when their egg production declines slightly..
- Hens are bred to lay 3 to 5 times more eggs than normal, averaging 260 eggs year.
- Egg production makes birds sick. Over-production of eggs leads to ovarian cancer, osteoporosis, and deadly infections.
- Hatcheries supplying feedstores and mail-orders are no better. Parent birds are killed at 18-mos-old, male chicks are still ruthlessly killed (or used as packing peanuts), birds are improperly sexed (leading to unwanted roosters), and most chicks are sent as “perishable materials” through the postal service increasing likelihood of death.
For a more detailed look at the commercial egg industry, check out our page on the subject.
Now that you know the cruel truth about the egg industry, it’s time to take a stand. Easter is supposed to celebrate love and forgiveness. However, there’s nothing compassionate about a holiday that’s traditions are centered on an industry that abuses, neglects, mistreats, and murderers sentient, feeling beings. The goods news is that YOU can go egg-free this Easter and not feel limited. And eggless Easter can be just as delicious, fun, and cruelty-free. It’s time to ditch the the cruelty and embrace an Easter filled with compassion.
What about backyard chickens?
We know chickens can be given lifelong care by some pretty amazing people – many of them are already our chicken adopters!
Still, most people buy chicks from feedstores and mail-order hatcheries. Some problems include:
- Parent breeder birds are housed in industrialized farms and slaughtered at 18-mos-old.
- Male chicks are often gassed to death upon hatching.
- Other male chicks are used as “packing peanuts” to keep hen chicks warm. Many urban areas prohibit roosters, resulting in unwanted roosters who are dumped at shelters, abandoned, or killed.
- Sensitive 24-72 hour-old chicks are shipped through the postal service. They are classified the same as vegetables or “perishable matter.”
- Chicks at feedstores are often ill but are generally left to fend for themselves and not provided veterinary care.
What Parents Like You Are Doing
We asked parents what they do to make Easter fun. We found that most parents didn’t have to do much to go eggless. Some bought plastic, ceramic, or wooden eggs. We found an astounding amount of parents love Eggnots Ceramic Eggs which can be dyed and used for a traditional Easter egg hunt! Many other parents bought reusable plastic shaped eggs and put either money or vegan candy in them. Some parents even made paper mache eggs! Our favorite chocolate comes from Sjaak’s!
Vegan Easter and Passover
Allison Rivers Samson
As a vegan family committed to compassion for all beings, we love to celebrate and veganize as many holidays as we can! For us, Easter as a celebration of Spring; the sun is shining, flowers are blooming, and half the fun of the holiday is being outside after so many months of winter.
When our now 8-year-old daughter, Olivia, was little, we decorated wooden eggs using paint, markers, and/or stickers, which have been saved and cherished from year to year. For the hunt, we hide those and plastic eggs filled with fun things like stickers, erasers, nuts, and dried fruit.
My husband was raised Jewish and we especially love celebrating a vegan Passover. Check out our guide to a compassionate Passover and choose colorful foil-wrapped vegan chocolate eggs as a festive stand-in for the Beitzah on your Seder plate!
With the season’s inspiration of renewal and growth, I like to reflect and re-commit to some of my core values of compassion, optimal health, non-violence, and harmony. Springtime presents fertile ground to move in new directions and motivation for meaningful projects I have yet to fully manifest. If this step for you is going vegan, give it 30 days and you’ll be well on your way. Our website also offers many of my award-winning comfort food recipes, veganized!
Here’s to kindness for all beings, especially chickens, during this time of year.
In addition to being a pioneer in the vegan food world by founding Allison’s Gourmet in 1997, Allison Rivers Samson is the award-winning author of Comfortably Yum, a certified health and wellness coach, holds a Certificate in Plant-Based Nutrition, and a Black Belt Nia instructor.
The Easter Basket:
Veganizing your Easter Basket has never been easier! Swap the candies filled with one’s that are egg-free, dairy-free, and cruelty-free! Here are some of our favorites to try!
- Sweet & Sara Marshmallows
- Allison’s Gourmet Easter & Springtime Gift Set
- Chocolate Decadence Chocolate-Covered Caramel Eggs
- Sjaak’s Vegan Dark Chocolate Eggs
- Airheads, Skittles, Smarties, Sourpatch Kids, Starburst (vegan only in the UK. The US version contains gelatin and is not vegan.)
- Jump Rope
Pledge to go egg-free this Easter!
Meet a Couple Rescued Hens
Tiny Comb (aka Rosemary) is one of 4,460 hens Animal Place saved in the largest rescue of farmed animals in California history. A farm raising hens for eggs in Turlock left the birds without food for more than two weeks, resulting in the starvation of 17,000 birds. The remaining birds were being gassed by state officials. You can watch the rescue of Tiny Comb and her friends in the documentary Turlock.
Tiny Comb is a shy hen with a gentle disposition. She likes to keep to herself and enjoys spending time nesting in the straw beneath the perches.
You can sponsor Tiny Comb for only $20 a year, which includes a full-color certificate of sponsorship, a wallet sized foster parent card, and a subscription to our Animal Place Magazine. More importantly, your $20 gift will feed Tiny Comb and her friends for a week!
Crazy Eyes (aka Crazy Eyes) is one special hen! Rescued from a pasture-based farm with 1,100 other hens, she is a survivor. While most of the hens were placed into loving homes, a small group of special-needs hens remain as permanent sanctuary residents. Crazy Eyes is one of them.
When she was a baby, Crazy Eyes survived an incurable virus that left her with some neurological damage. She sometimes plucks out the feathers around her chest. She is easy to spy in the barn, with her awkward upright gait and busy, busy, busy activity. She is named after a character from Orange is the New Black.
You can sponsor Crazy Eyes for $20 a year. Your gift will help provide ongoing veterinary care to the rescued birds, including de-wormers, de-lousers, vaccines, and antibiotic treatment for infections.