April 01, 2019
“This was before industrialisation,” my grandmother clarified while looking over her reading glasses at me. Then she pushed her glasses back up again and continued working on her tablecloth with cross-stitch.
I nodded while lying comfortably on the floor in my grandparent's summerhouse, just outside Stockholm. My grandmother was telling me a story about carrying food across the field to the hens when she was a young girl. She liked to tell me stories about when she was growing up, living on a big farm on the island of Gotland in the Baltic Sea. I loved to listen to them, how it used to be so different and, in many ways, a much harder life than I was used to.
I giggled when I was thinking about the outdoor toilets they had, one for men and one for women. The toilets were a bench with holes of different sizes, so also children could sit there without falling into the big pile of poo beneath.
What popped into my mind when I heard the word “industrialisation” was the assembly line. You know this manufacturing process in which parts are added as the semi-finished assembly moves from work station to work station.
With this in mind, a scene from the candid camera that I had recently watched in a movie theatre came to me. A poor man trying to keep up with cakes coming on the assembly line for him to decorate, but they came with faster and faster speed and he couldn‘t keep up so they fell on the floor. I thought that was hilariously funny.
But today when I hear the word “industrialisation,” quite a different image comes to mind, one that is not funny. Instead of imagining cakes falling on the floor, I see the newborn baby chicks on the assembly line.
What do I mean?
Animal factory farming is an outgrowth of industrialisation that is primarily driven to maximize profits.
It’s about speed, low costs and high production with little to no regard for living, feeling beings.
The egg industry is no exception.
When a little chicken is not even a day old, he is knocked out on the conveyor belt by the assembly line where humans separate the baby boys from the baby girls.
The boys are then brutally killed the same day, either gassed or shredded to death because they are not profitable enough to be bred for meat and cannot lay eggs.
In Switzerland, about 2.5 million male chicks lose their life like this every year. Hopefully, this practice might soon become forbidden in Switzerland.
The girl chicks follow the route of their mothers, whom they never got to meet. They become egg-laying machines, with a production of around 300 eggs a year. In the natural world, a hen would lay a maximum of 20 eggs a year, and she would have intense interaction with her chicks before (and after) they were born.
On the assembly line, that is all taken away. When the girls are one year old, it’s their turn to be gassed to death, cutting their lives to only a fraction of the amount of time they would have lived in freedom. Here is a short video about the egg industry. Be prepared, it’s not nice.
So I’m not laughing anymore when the assembly line comes to my mind, and I don’t want to support this cruel production of eggs. I’m sure you don’t either.
So what about Easter?
No need to worry. Why? Because it’s super easy and tasteful to both bake and cook without eggs. One of the easiest ways to take a stand against a cruel industry is to simply withhold your money from it. You won't miss a thing by refusing to buy eggs this Easter (and the rest of the year)! And you will feel awesome.
Swissveg has put together a super practical page where you can easily find what to use instead of eggs for different purposes. You can check the page out for more details, but here are a couple of the most common ways to replace eggs:
For binding: Instead of 1 egg, use 2 tablespoons of apple puree, half a banana (ripe) or 1 tablespoon of almond mush.
For baking: For a loose dough, exchange the egg for carbonated mineral water. And to coat baked goods, use soy or rice milk.
You can also buy an egg replacement product in the bio-shop or online.
You can still make your favourite recipes, you’ll just exchange a few ingredients – and voila – you’ll have a superb three course Easter supper, which is both delicious and compassionate.
Planning to invite family and friends for a festive Easter dinner? For inspiration check out this vegan-friendly Easter menu. It’s yummy, stylish and compassionate at the same time.
What about the Easter Egg Hunt? Of course, you don’t want to miss celebrating Easter with your children by hiding eggs for them. But instead of eggs, paint fruits with a hard shell like an apple. Or use wooden, ceramic or cloth eggs.
Trying something new for Easter might even make this year more fun!
Joy Without Suffering
Traditions are important to us. They give stability and a sense of belonging, especially for children.
Don’t you ever wonder how many traditions there must be throughout the planet? And there are different traditions within religions and cultures as well. In fact, I wonder how many traditions there are in the world! It must be a zillion!
I love traditions too, and I notice how deeply they are rooted in me, especially since I have lived abroad for many years. And I still love listening to old family stories and my uncle is excellent at telling them, he remembers everything!
But, however important they are to me, I don’t want to take part in something that causes suffering to others. I don’t think a tradition is worth keeping if it harms someone else.
What do you think? Instead of using culture, religion or tradition to justify cruelty and suffering, can we reshape our Easter to bring joy without suffering?
Don’t give up your traditions, just bend them a bit, so they are kind to everyone.
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