Times are tough for the egg industry. The Food and Drug Administration is implementing costly regulations in an effort to keep consumers from getting sick. U.S. per capita consumption has been declining since 2005. More and more states are considering legislation to ban cruel battery cages in the wake of a landmark ballot initiative last year in California. And, worst of all, animal advocates keep exposing them for their undeniably cruel treatment of animals. It’s hard to say what Americans find more disgusting, the mutilation of day-old chicks recently exposed in the media or leaving dead hens to rot inside their filthy cages with surviving cagemates.
Since the egg industry can’t stop abusing animals, its only alternative is to launch a new marketing campaign aimed at giving it a more warm and fuzzy image. You’ve heard of greenwashing? Well, meet warm-fuzzy-washing. Earlier this month, the American Egg Board (AEB) launched its “Good Egg Project,” which invites people to take a pledge to “Eat good. Do good everyday.” For every person that takes this nebulous pledge, the AEB will donate one egg to food pantries, up to a million eggs. Of course, the egg industry extorts more than 90 billion eggs from miserable caged hens every year. If you put those eggs in cartons laid end to end, they would circle the Earth’s equator 57 times! In contrast one million eggs in cartons laid end to end wouldn’t even get you from Brooklyn to Yonkers.
But the warm-fuzzy-washing doesn’t stop there. To make things even more repugnant, they are partnering up with the producers of “Sesame Street,” helping to underwrite the show’s 40th season in exchange for photo ops with Cookie Monster and, undoubtedly, plenty of pro-egg messages that will be spoon-fed to millions of hapless youngsters. With McDonald’s already in the show’s stable of corporate sponsors, I guess it must have seemed like a good fit. Of course, “Sesame Street” wouldn’t dare tell kids the truth about eggs or the tortured lives of farm animals. Everyone knows that honesty is the best policy, except when talking to children, in which case you should just keep your mouth shut and take that big fat corporate check to the bank.
What’s an animal activist to do? Here are some suggestions:
- Tell the folks at “Sesame Street” what you think of their new sponsor.
- Give children in your life a real lesson in compassion by reading to them from an animal friendly book, like Ruby Roth’s That’s Why We Don’t Eat Animals. We know reading to kids does far more for their development (and yours) than plopping them down in front of a television anyway.
- If you’re an educator, consider adding our Cultivating Compassion series to your curriculum.
- Join our Advocacy Campaign Team as we fight to ban battery cages and spread the vegan message.
- Learn about the joys of egg-free cookery during the Vegan Month of Food (Vegan MoFo), also known as October.