The Boys of the Egg Industry
An Animal Rights Article from

FROM Ryan Hill, Co-founder, The Sky's The Limit Sanctuary
June 2019

Presentation at Seattle's 2019 NARD National Animal Rights Day, June 2019

The over-population of roosters, created by the egg industry, has become a serious crisis across the country.

We often think about the hens in the egg industry... Battery cages, where hens are confined, cramped, covered in feces, suffering from infections, reproductive disease and unable to stretch their wings. But how often do we consider the boys of the egg industry? Whether male chicks are ground up alive or suffocated in trash bags, or shipped across the country as ‘warmers’ for hens... These victims are often forgotten. When will we start asking; what about the roosters?

rescued Rooster

Roosters are born into this world, unwanted and even hated from the start. If they are spared from the macerator at birth, they are often discovered at just three months old and their urban backyard chicken keeper cannot keep them due to sexist and speciesist laws which don’t allow roosters within the majority of homes in the United States. Even if the laws allow you to have roosters, neighbors can cause them to become homeless due to subjective and discriminatory noise ordinances.

Once a rooster is discovered he has only a few options:

  • He may be slaughtered and become his owner’s dinner
  • He may be slaughtered and become pet food
  • He may be abandoned in parks or wilderness
  • He could purposely be fed to captive animals
  • If he is extremely lucky, he may find a home with someone who will love him

rescued Rooster
From lef to right: Sriracha, Griffin, Lamberti, Conway, Gunther and Nutmeg (in the background), Clark on Ryan's Shoulder, Chance and Fate

The over-population of roosters, created by the egg industry, has become a serious crisis across the country. The biggest hurdle is that there are so few homes for them and so many abandoned. It is hard for humans to connect with them because they don’t have the same emotional responses that mammals have. They don’t shed tears. Many of them don’t like to snuggle either. Their means of communication is not the same as a furry mammal, but it is just as real and their feelings are just as real. They feel loss. They feel pain. They feel love and trust.

Imagine being so marginalized by society that the very sound of your voice incites anger in 90% of the people around you. Imagine that all of the misconceptions about your personality are manifested in being ostracized and abandoned in the wild rather than given a chance a life. Imagine that people fear you because you are trying to protect your family who continues to be taken from you and abused right in front of you.

Due to the sheer numbers of these beautiful beings in the world and the many ways we exploit them, chickens are the most abused, exploited, and tortured land animal on the planet. They are not only used and exploited as egg producers, but chicks are also used as gifts at Easter and as classroom hatching projects for the “learning experience.”

Rooster Chance

Rooster Gunther

For all these reasons, there can NEVER—WILL NEVER—be any such thing as a ‘humane’ egg. Until you’ve held a hen dying from reproductive disease and watched her take her last breath... or caught stray roosters dumped to fend for themselves... or turned away dozens of roosters in need... or seen first-hand the way people treat and talk about these innocent boys, you cannot truly understand the harm eggs really cause. If you, or someone you know, is guided by compassion, PLEASE—for the love of all the forgotten roosters—SPEAK UP. Give them a voice. Because silence... is acceptance.

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