Eggs 101 Is Positively Eggsasperating
The proposition and resulting act prohibited the confinement of certain animals (calves, pigs, and chickens) in a cage that prevents them from turning around, lying down, standing up, and fully extending their limbs. The measure dealt with three kinds of housing: veal crates, sow gestation crates, and battery cages. Since California veal and pork production are insignificant or nonexistent in California, battery cages for egg production became the big issue on this contentious ballot measure.
Millions of dollars poured into California from the animal agriculture industry to defeat the proposition. Most of the more than $8 million dollars raised came from outside California. The American Egg Board wanted to contribute $3 million to the NO on 2 campaign but was stymied by a lawsuit initiated by Californians for Humane Farms against Secretary of Agriculture Ed Schafer who did not see a problem for the board to make this sizable contribution.
Judge Marilyn Hall Patel of the United States District Court, Northern District of California ruled that the United Egg Producers had violated the Egg Research and Consumer Education Act and the Commodity Promotion, Research, and Information Act by funneling contributions to the NO on 2 campaign.
Typically, huge amounts of money raised to defeat a proposition will succeed in its purpose. The egg producers raised twice the money collected by the Humane Society of the United States, but in this case, California voters ignored the barrage of No on 2 ads and sided in favor of the chickens against cruel and inhuman practices.
The egg industry may have lost the skirmish over Proposition 2, but the war to keep a substantial number of eggs in the American diet is not over. The industry's next step was to win the minds of young people with a media blitz directed at that impressionable group. What better way than to flood the country with Eggs 101: A Video Project, a film designed to show how important eggs are to nutrition and health and how humane the industry is in raising egg-laying hens.
The Documentary Eggstravanza
This slick, professionally created documentary produced, written, and edited by Todd Grimes cleverly masquerades as a student video project but is light-years above the quality of any amateur production.
An Eggsercise in Enlightenment
In among this factual information are biased statements like: "Eggs contain the highest quality protein of any food." In an effort to distance themselves from beef producers, the egg people claim, "The egg is a nutrient-dense food with no hormones."
At no time in the film is there mention of cholesterol (212 mg in one large egg) or salmonella, if an egg is not thoroughly cooked.
Eggspect a Neat and Clean Henhouse
The rosy scenario depicted is far from the reality that occurs in so many egg farms. According to the film, neither hens nor eggs came in contact with waste. In her book Prisoned Chickens, Poisoned Eggs, Karen Davis tells a different story with cages that are often stacked in layers up to the ceiling with excrement from the chickens falling on the birds below. The "controlled diet" often includes chicken manure, road kill, factory wastes, and euthanized pets. Chickens are given antibiotics to stimulate growth and reduce disease among the birds, but the drugs put humans at risk for antibiotic resistance. Pathogens like Salmonella and E. coli flourish in this battery-cage environment.
Kenlyn and Josh had the opportunity to visit Creighton Brothers in Warsaw, Indiana to view one of the rooms of the four-building complex. Before entering the cage room, they had to don coverall jumpsuits to prevent human contamination of the room that contains a computer to control temperature, ventilation, and lighting. Cages were stacked four deep in long rows in a facility that appeared neat and well maintained.
According to the Humane Society of the United States, information in this video is a finely tuned myth. On most poultry farms hens are packed into cages where they can hardly move. The tips of their beaks are burned off so they will not peck at each other. Male baby chicks are smothered in plastic bags or thrown live into a grinder.
One investigator for Mercy for Animals reported odor of feces and ammonia so strong it was difficult to breathe in barns that were infested with mice and maggots in 100-degree heat during summer months in California. The policy at a facility in Norco, California was to kill the hens when they were one year and nine-months old. They were placed in a barn and exposed to pungent carbon dioxide to terminate them.
Eggsterminate the Vegan Agenda
The AEB has distributed 40,000 copies of Eggs 101 DVD to middle schools, high schools, public libraries, retailers, and university food science departments nationwide. Ivy boasts that the DVD has received a Bronze Award in the education program section of the 2008 Telly Awards.
Telly Awards are presented by a New York organization to honor outstanding local and regional television commercials and productions, and non-broadcast video productions. Evidently, each of the silver and bronze categories has multiple winners and finalists. The Telly Awards web page lists thousands of winners each year. Between 7% and 10% of over 13,000 entries from around the world achieve the silver while between 18% and 25% receive the bronze. The website does not list bronze winners for any year. Up to 1/4 of the entries can win a bronze award by just signing up.
Persons wanting to view the DVD may find it at a local library, and if they can't find it at the library, they can purchase a copy at Amazon for under a dollar.
Eggscitement on the Horizon
Fortunately, Proposition 2 is a harbinger of what will occur in other states as the public becomes more aware of the inhumane practices followed in the egg industry and in other factory farm animal agriculture. Vegetarians in Paradise feels that Eggs 101 does not even deserve a phony bronze Telly Award. Instead, we dishonor Eggs 101 with a special Sleaze Omelette Trophy for being a low-standing pseudo documentary.