Egg Prices Rise As Evidence Humans Will Never Meaningfully Care About Animals Rises Too
Tradition, taste, convenience, cost, and fitting in are what's important to most humans. Not justice, fairness, or change.
Alternatives exist, but cruelty persists.
About a decade ago I watched a partially unforgettable Josh Tetrick TEDx talk called The Future of Food. Josh is the CEO of Eat Just (previously Just, Inc.) and is behind the popular plant-based egg alternative Just Egg and other beloved alternatives like Just Mayo, which is a tasty egg-free mayonnaise. At his TEDx talk he highlighted the cruelty, unsustainability, and gargantuan injustice of using billions of chickens worldwide for what they’d be forced to continually produce for their 1.5 to 2 short years of life as the supposed egg dispensing machines that most humans incorrectly see them as.
Josh talked about male chicks at hatcheries being blended alive in macerators (or in some cases suffocated in plastic bags) because they don’t produce eggs. He spoke of how hens in battery cages (where most hens used for eggs live their entire lives) live in such restrictive settings that they can’t even spread their wings or get away for a moment from the stench, filth, and screams of living alongside 150,000 others in the same hellish man-made environment. He noted that over a billion humans go hungry every day while we continue to casually grow, transport, and inefficiently feed more food to the animals we breed into existence to eat than to deprived members of our own species as they waste away.
But possibly the most tragic of all the facts that Josh Tetrick recognized could be the avian flu outbreaks. Avian flu outbreaks are a tragedy because they have the potential to raise the prices of eggs and flesh, sometimes even creating empty shelves for a ‘product’ that people so badly cherish. How sad that it can get to a point where a consumer might have to pay as much as 50 cents or more for an egg! Avian influenza outbreaks could even create one of the next great pandemics, which could inconvenience humans maybe 1/1,000,000th as much as we inconvenience chickens and other birds for our unabated cooperation with tyranny over their lives. If the next mass influenza pandemic does come let’s be sure to once again scapegoat the ‘unvaccinated’ while we continue to shield the irresponsibility of the animal exploiters and animal consumers who refuse to stop engaging in some of the most stupid and selfish behaviors possible.
As Josh was laying out hard-hitting, upsetting, and disgusting truths about the reality of animal farming he was building up to what would eventually be him promoting vegan-friendly alternatives for his brand. On stage there was a demonstration with a taste tester trying a scrambled egg substitute that could be made from mung beans and other plant-sourced ingredients, a display of the reality that we can leave limitless cruelty behind us, but not have to be limited to food options that don’t resemble or taste like our past favorites.
Food innovation to Josh was taking animals out of the equation, which as he stated included taking greenhouse gases out of the equation, inefficiency out of the equation, and the inhumane conditions out of the equation. According to Josh, taking animals out of the equation leads to “putting our values back.” This is exactly what I don’t get, the part about values. Although what he said aligns with my values and the values of people I usually choose to surround myself with, it doesn’t align with the values of the vast majority of people I’ve ever interacted with (I don’t think so at least). Where is the evidence that the typical human has values related to being fair and considerate to others, especially other species, and the planet? I still have yet to get in touch with any compelling evidence for this. Maybe I’m wrong, but it seems to me that people value comfort, convenience, taste, cost, and tradition.
When I first watched the above TEDx speech years ago I had high hopes that by now things would be a lot different. I yearned so badly for a day when plant-based eating would be a serious competitor, or even overtaker, of its inhumane animal counterparts that humans currently consume more of than any other animal eating human society in history. This wasn’t the only inspiring video I had watched with Josh Tetrick back in the day. In another video I saw he mentioned how products like Just Egg would be so affordable at some point that they’d be accessible to the average person, just like how traditional chicken eggs are priced to such an inexpensive degree that most humans who have any money at all can afford them. However, this still hasn’t happened and I’m not holding my breath that it ever will.
In the present day, more animals are being exploited and killed than ever before and the risk of emerging pandemics is seemingly at its greatest too, not just because of how we play god with the dangerous situations we create with unwilling animals for food, but also because of the ruthless experiments we are allowing, and even funding, scientists to conduct on unwilling animals too.
When will we say enough is enough?
Over the last year more chickens, turkeys, and ducks have been deliberately killed by humans pre-slaughter than at any other time. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, nearly 58 million birds have died in the past year’s avian influenza outbreak. This includes birds who have died from the disease, but more so birds who have died from approved “depopulating” methods that I will get to later. This has been the deadliest bird flu outbreak in history, yet the death toll aspect of the whole story is barely even newsworthy to most people.
Outlets like Newsweek, while covering this outbreak and the increased cost consequences for consumers, casually report to their readers facets of the story like “According to Metz [CEO of the American Egg Board], egg producers in the U.S. typically have a combined flock of around 320 million egg-producing hens. At the moment, this is hovering around 300 million, a decline of around 5-6 percent.”
It’s alarming how acceptable it is, not just to exploit animals, but to exploit them at such an insanely huge volume to the point where creating and spreading disease is nothing short of a guarantee. How can we be okay with language so disconnected from reality that we accept the forceful consolidation of hundreds of millions of chickens as a “flock”? Instead of calling the criminals who use chickens as tools for profit names like animal sadists or animal exploiters, we cover the true nature of their doings and refer to them innocuously as “egg producers.” Last I checked, only female humans produce eggs and they aren’t the kind that get expelled from outside of the body.
"What we're hoping, for now, is that market conditions improve across the board, so [egg farmers'] input costs are a little bit lower," Metz said. "Feed would need to return to normal, fuel would be great if it returned to normal, labor costs equalizing and normalizing—I think that's what would make our farmers the happiest right now."
Notice that what would make “farmers” the happiest right now has nothing to do with the welfare of the birds. Zero out of ten is how much they care.
If you look at the news and social media posts related to the ongoing avian influenza outbreak the real problem and the injustice to most people is the rising cost of eggs at the store. What the chickens must endure in day-to-day conditions and influenza outbreak conditions is as newsworthy as a drizzle in the Pacific Northwest. When 1 million people in the US allegedly died from Covid-19 after about 2 years (a grossly exaggerated death toll as 94% of recorded Covid-19 deaths had an average of 4 pre-existing conditions like cancer, heart disease, and diabetes that led to the person’s death) that was considered MAJOR news. Yet 58 million birds dying due to a never-ending cascade of humanity’s carelessness, apathy, and fuckups is seemingly viewed as nothing. I’ve heard so many vegans state that nobody agrees with factory farming. What the hell are they talking about? The masses will happily support so-called factory farming literally no matter what.
“Trust the science” and “do your part” for “the greater good”
According to The Guardian article ‘Pandemic potential’: bird flu outbreaks fueling chance of human spillover', “more than 300 million chickens, ducks and geese, and an unknown number of wild birds between 2005 and 2021” have lost their lives to avian influenza. If what they state is true that the 1918 flu originated in farmed birds, killed up to 50 million people, and could happen again with our current animal farming methods then what are we doing still “farming” animals? They don’t magically grow out of the ground and require us to feed them, but rather we willfully breed them into existence, cram them together, and grow resource-heavy food to fatten them up to kill for ingestion- ultimately ingesting less food, calories, and nutrients than what we put into them. How can we continue to partake in practices that carry such enormous risks and harms for the production of things we have absolutely no need for?
According to an interview in the above article that The Guardian did with Ian Barr, the deputy director of the WHO’s Collaborating Centre for Reference and Research on Influenza in Melbourne, the avian influenza would most likely require more than just a couple changes to enable human-to-human transmission, but why are we so comfortable with ourselves and the dangerous games we are playing when at the end of the day it’s for nothing more than palate pleasure, profit, and adversity to change? Ian Barr goes on to state, “We never really know with these viruses…but they’ve been with us for 18 years in various forms and they haven’t yet gained that function of being easily transmissible to man,” says Barr. “So, hopefully the virus finds that a difficult thing to do, but it’s something which we’re not entirely knowledgable about.”
The Guardian published another article in 2014 titled Scientists condemn 'crazy, dangerous' creation of deadly airborne flu virus about scientists deliberately creating an avian flu similar to the 1918 Spanish Flu, in which this lab-induced virus would spread more easily throughout different animals. Lord May, a former chief science advisor to the UK government, called these experiments "…absolutely crazy. The whole thing is exceedingly dangerous." Lord May went on to state “Yes, there is a danger, but it's not arising from the viruses out there in the animals, it's arising from the labs of grossly ambitious people."
It’s clear that many scientists like to play god and satisfy their curiosity to infinity to see what will happen if they do X, Y, or Z. They can practically do any experiment they want and use the excuse that it could produce a new discovery that could help humankind. How can anyone say no scientist would ever willfully release a lab-produced virus into the public? Even if willful virus releases don’t exist among most scientists doing this type of dangerous work, there is still always the possibility of an unintentional release, which has happened time and time again and is always acknowledged as a real risk, albeit a risk worth taking to many short-sighted scientists.
Writing in the journal Cell Host and Microbe Yoshihiro Kawaoka describes how his team analysed various bird flu viruses and found genes from several strains that were very similar to those that made up the 1918 human flu virus. They combined the bird flu genes into a single new virus, making a new pathogen that was only about 3% different from the 1918 human virus.
The freshly made virus – the first of several the team created – was more harmful to mice and ferrets than normal bird flu viruses, but not as dangerous as the 1918 strain. It did not spread between ferrets and none of the animals died. But the scientists went on to mutate the virus, to see what changes could make it spread. Seven mutations later, they had a more dangerous version that spread easily from animal to animal in tiny water droplets, the same way flu spreads in humans.
The following section of the article reminds me of using animals like chickens for food, which in a way is a grand experiment too. Some people argue that farming animals is a good thing because it feeds the world, whereas others like myself believe that it’s unnecessary and reckless.
The work is the latest in a series of controversial studies that have split the scientific community. On the one side are researchers who create dangerous viruses in secure labs in the hope of learning how existing strains could mutate to make them a potential threat to humans. On the other are scientists who argue the work does little or nothing to help protect people, but instead puts the global population in more danger.
Marc Lipsitch, professor of epidemiology at Harvard School of Public Health, said: "I am worried that this signals a growing trend to make transmissible novel viruses willy-nilly, without strong public health rationale. This is a risky activity, even in the safest labs. Scientists should not take such risks without strong evidence that the work could save lives, which this paper does not provide," he added.
In an article published last month, Lipsitch argued that experiments like Kawaoka's could unleash a catastrophic pandemic if a virus escaped or was intentionally released from a high-security laboratory.
While we deal with the deadliest avian influenza outbreak of all time, we are also conducting many of these lets-make-new-virus experiments, or biological weapons (also known as gain-of-function) experiments all over the world. When we were first alerted about the coronavirus that scared the shit out of much of the world throughout 2020 up to the current day we were told that the virus originated from a live animal market in Wuhan, China. Although this could be accepted as a very plausible story, the media failed to report that this market was located just miles away from the Wuhan Institute of Virology where scientists were using US taxpayer money funneled from the NIH through EcoHealth Alliance to conduct gain-of-function bat coronavirus experiments, in which coronaviruses were manipulated and tested on animals to become more transmissible and lethal to humans. There was a quick coverup by those involved with conducting these experiments and they shifted the blame elsewhere to a nearby live animal market as the origin of the virus. To this day the only animal rights organization I know of that has acknowledged that the Covid outbreak most likely started at the Wuhan Institute of Virology is White Coat Waste Project, while other groups like the HSUS have pathetically dismissed this as an “outlandish and debunked conspiracy theory.” Despite overwhelming evidence that these types of experiments are dangerous and not something many people are comfortable with, they still happen anyway, such as at Boston University where it came out several months ago that they are doing gain-of-function coronavirus research.
Animal farming is inhumanity at it’s finest
It would be bad enough as a bird to die from avian influenza, but it’s even worse to die by the “most inhumane method available” as reported by The Guardian last year. The main industry go-to method of mass on-farm extermination is ventilation shutdown or ventilation shutdown plus, the cruelest mass extermination methods humans have ever come up with. These most inhumane murder methods are sanctioned by the animal nazis at the American Veterinary Medical Association, but not all AVMA members are onboard with this sadistic criminal behavior. Ventilation shutdown involves sealing off the airflow and pumping a perpetual flow of heat into the animal concentration buildings or including butane gas and CO2 (VSD+) to do what workers have described as “roasting animals alive.” Who covers the costs to roast these millions and millions of birds and other animals such as pigs to death? American taxpayers do, thanks to the USDA who spends our wage theft money so wisely and compassionately. US taxpayers even cover the costs for animal torture facilities owned by billionaires, such as Glen Taylor who is Minnesota’s richest man and also happens to own The Minnesota Timberwolves and the Star Tribune, Minnesota’s largest newspaper.
A close friend of mine was at the Timberwolves game that got disrupted for a moment to try to raise awareness about the ventilation shutdown plus mass extermination program that was being utilized in nearby bird facilities with avian outbreaks owned by Glen Taylor and other heartless human monsters. All my friend did was use a cell phone to film what took place from her seat that she paid over $2k for (Direct Action Everywhere covered the cost), yet for doing nothing more than holding a cell phone up and recording the scene she was violently dragged out by security, which caused personal injury to her. Months later, she received a letter from the NBA telling her she was never allowed to attend a professional basketball game anywhere ever again. Her crime? Recording what was taking place just like probably hundreds of other spectators in the stands.
Although the basketball game got some major media attention, nothing ultimately changed. I commend the efforts of the activists and I think their plan had a very well thought out strategy, but in the end we are often more than nothing but a minor nuisance or slight inconvenience to these industry giants who carry on with their evil deeds and shameful business practices as they please. If the public is already mostly indifferent and apathetic to the standard abject living conditions of animals like chickens, turkeys, and pigs then it’s hard to believe that they’d be heightened to a level of outrage because of ventilation shutdown(plus).
Martin Luther King Jr. got some things right, but his famous quote “The arch of history is long, but it bends towards justice” should be retired. Reality simply doesn’t reflect this quote that’s overly used to satisfy perhaps the most cherished value most humans have, which is comfort. It’s comforting to hear quotes like this when faced with such horrific truths about the world since sayings like this have immense potential to make people feel better and faithfully optimistic. It seems to me that the arch of history bends to where it will, usually towards more insanity and a recycling of human nature.
If a vegan food company like Josh Tetrik’s Eat Just caused food poisonings and some kind of outbreak that led to the deaths of countless nonhumans and/or humans the company’s reputation would be scarred for life and would have no chance at ever becoming anywhere as popular a product as chicken eggs are to most humans. But animal abusing companies can wreak any havoc all they want on humans and/or other animals and the environment and most people will still only get upset if the stolen parts of animals they buy at stores are either unavailable or “too expensive.” Years before Just Egg finally launched in stores Freedom Of Information Act documents revealed that the egg industry planned to sabotage the product and even talked about putting a hit on Josh. The people behind the scenes of transforming innocent living beings into commodities have no respect for life and it’s mind-blowing how many people have no problem supporting them. Luckily, Just Egg and other plant-based alternatives made by the same company continue to gain popularity and offer more options to people from all dietary backgrounds. Just Egg has even recently launched a brilliant new advertising campaign letting consumers know the overlooked yet obvious fact that plants don’t get the flu.
The question isn’t what will it take for us to get humans to care. The question is what will it take for humans to acknowledge once and for all that [most] humans never will care?
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