Reading Time: 2 minutes Viva! warns of animal suffering on egg farms (Photo: Adobe. Do not use without permission)
Reading Time: 2 minutes

UK eggs sales skyrocketed in 2018 according to figures released by the British Egg Industry Council, which says the increase could be linked to the rise in people trying a ‘flexitarian’ diet.

According to the BEIC, egg sales exceeded 13 billion for the first time since the 1980s, an increase of four percent or 240 million eggs.

‘Eggs in fashion’

“Eggs are firmly back in fashion, with sales maintaining their relentless rise in 2018, supported by consumer desire for healthier options, flexitarianism, and the impact of the change in official advice that vulnerable groups can now enjoy runny eggs, as long as they are Lion,” a spokesperson for the British Egg Information Service (BEIS) said.

But while egg bosses are pleased to see the numbers increasing, vegan charity Viva! says that while people may be reducing their meat on ethical grounds, replacing it with eggs will not necessarily reduce animal suffering.

‘Disheartened by increased egg sales’

“Although it’s fantastic to see an increase in the number of people choosing vegetarian foods and transitioning towards veganism, we are disheartened by the growth of egg sales,” Lex Rigby, Viva! Campaigns Manager, told Plant Based News.

“The egg industry is incredibly cruel. The amount of suffering that laying hens endure and the barbaric practices that still take place in the UK are on a par with the meat and dairy industries. Hens are subjected to chronic pain from beak trimming, barren and crammed sheds, feather pecking, cannibalism from boredom and frustration, and then a brutal and violent death.

“This is alongside the fact that around 40 million ‘useless’ male chicks are killed each year – so no matter if your eggs are ‘free-range’ or organic, they contribute to mass suffering.”

Suffering in the egg industry

Rigby added: “Sadly, few people realize how intelligent and complex chickens are. This is because although the behavioral traits found in wild chickens are very much present in farmed hens – as has been demonstrated by animal rescue shelters – the overwhelming majority of hens will never express these behaviors. In factory farms, almost every natural behavior is denied.

“We believe that every step towards veganism is a positive one and so while we would celebrate people reducing their meat intake, we would urge them not to replace meat with eggs. This is not only because of the inherent cruelty found in the egg industry, but because it is completely unnecessary!

“There are so many delicious and healthy alternatives to all animal products, including meat and eggs. Ultimately, the most effective way to end animal suffering is to go vegan.”

Maria Chiorando

Maria is a news and features writer for Plant Based News. As a former magazine editor, newspaper reporter, and features writer, her work has been published by The Guardian, The Huffington Post, and various regional newspapers, as well as Vegan Life magazine and Vegan Trade Journal. She has interviewed a huge range of people, from Prime Ministers to authors, activists, pop stars and actors, and enjoys the varied range of topics writing for PBN allows her to tackle. She was previously the editor of Plant Based News for over 3 years.