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"Hen Hell" would be a better description

"Hen Hell" would be a better description

The Campaign Against Factory Farming (CAFF) has taken battery egg producers and distributors to the Advertising Standards Authority for misleading advertising.

First on the list are producers of "hen house" eggs. "The term 'hen house' conjures up images of a wooden barn with hens clucking happily outside", says CAFF spokesperson Dr. Michael Morris. "The reality is totally different. These hens never go near a 'house'. They spend all their lives cramped in cages inside a vast, airless shed, where they are unable to satisfy any of their behavioural urges. They suffer from abrasion, feather loss, frustration, fear, and crippling osteoporosis as a result. 'Hen Hell' would be a better description".

The producers of "Vegetarian eggs" are next. "The name implies that these eggs are suitable for vegetarians, people who generally base their food choice on animal welfare concerns", say Morris. "I'm sure that vegetarians (and a large proportion of non-vegetarians) will be horrified to learn that they are supporting animal cruelty by buying this product".

CAFF alleges that "Farm fresh eggs" and "sure as eggs" are also misleading. CAFF has filed complaints against owners of these brands.

According to CAFF, the most blatant ploy to increase consumption of cruel battery produced eggs comes from Farmer Brown (Mainland Poultry) "nutra-eggs". The manufacturer claims that "nutra-eggs" have "increased levels of vitamins A, E, B5, B12, Folic Acid, Iodine, Selenium, Omega 3 and Omega 6". They then make the preposterous claim that these nutrients are deficient in today's modern diet.

This claim is misleading because most people are simply unaware of the most effective way of meeting their recommended daily intake (RDI) of nutrients without consuming excessive calories, fat of cholesterol.

For example, the RDI of vitamin A can be achieved by consuming one carrot (14 calories, no cholesterol, trace amounts of saturated fat), or 9 standard (size 7) boiled eggs per day (675 Calories, 1600mg cholesterol, 13g saturated fat). Selenium RDI can be met by consuming 2 brazil nuts (52 Calories, no cholesterol, 1.3g saturated fat), or 11 boiled eggs The RDI of B complex vitamins, vitamin E, Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids can similarly be obtained without requiring a high caloric or cholesterol intake.

Epidemiological studies have linked high egg consumption with colorectal and ovarian cancer. There is also some evidence that consuming 1-2 eggs per day increases risk of premature death in women. High egg consumption and dietary cholesterol are also thought to contribute to the risk of developing gallstones.

Companies such as Mainland Poultry are deliberately encouraging an excessively high consumption of eggs. A lower consumption level could be supported by free range systems. There is no need to continue with cruel battery cages.

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