In response to a campaign by animal rights activists in which models stripped to oppose cage production of eggs, the executive director of the Egg Producers Federation said he would prefer to debate the “bare facts” rather than “bare bodies.”
Egg Producers Federation executive director Michael brooks said in a press release,
This sort of publicity-seeking [by models stripping] trivializes a very important issue.
Brooks went on to note that the production methods of eggs are dictated largely by the need to present consumers with low cost food. According to Brooks,
This is an issue of the right of consumers to choose what sort of product they wish to buy. At present, less than 6 percent of eggs purchased are free-range. Over 92 percent are from caged hens with the balance barn-raised. Eggs are a vital and low cost source of protein consumed particularly by low socio-economic groups who cannot necessarily afford the much greater costs of free range eggs.
The public may say that they disapprove of caging in a telephone survey, but every day at the super market they buy crate produced eggs.
It is also an issue of the right to farm and behind the industry are families, individuals and communities that rely on egg production for their livelihood.
If we are to take actions that ultimately destroy an industry, we need to have very good reasons. Most of the arguments put forward by animal welfare activists simply do not stand up to scientific analysis
The Egg Producers Federation notes, for example, that the activists are wrong when they claim that egg producers remove the beaks from hens. According to the Egg Producers Federation,
Birds’ beaks are not removed and never have been. In fact, less than 40 percent of caged hens have the tips of their beaks trimmed — a process undertaken as small chickens when the beak is soft and there is little or no pain. It is a humane practice designed to avoid feather pecking and cannibalism. . . . Beak trimming is also practiced on free range farms for the same reason.
Brooks sums up by saying,
The point is that these matters are not simple or black and white, as the activists lead us to believe. They are trying to turn this issue into one of heroes and villains which is totally inappropriate.
On the other hand if I were an animal rights activist deciding between resting on the strength of my argument or models stripping, I think I’d have to go with the stripping models too.
Bare facts rather than bare bodies. Press Release, Egg Producers Federation of New Zealand, September 20, 2004.
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