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Won't anyone think of the chickens? Jumbo-sized eggs cruel, experts say

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large-eggs.jpgEaster is on its way, and like any holiday, it brings with it a host of ethical dilemmas. If you're planning on tucking into a chocolate egg there are all the usual waste issues to consider, and are you're going to spend your hard-earned cash on fairtrade and/or organic eggs for you and your family this year? But even if you're going to stick to good old chuckie eggs, you're not off the hook, even if you always insist on buying free range.

Apparently, our greed for extra large eggs is causing untold misery and suffering to our national brood (and Lord knows hens seem to suffer enough already). The fairly obvious reason being that - as Tom Vesey, of the British Free Range Producers' Association put it,'it can be painful for a hen to lay a larger egg'.

Related: Free-range outsell battery eggs for the first time | Chicken Out: Would you buy battery again?

Eggs have got progressively larger in the UK, with many prominent chefs using the bigger sizes as standard in their recipes. The main reasoning behind this is, unsurprisingly, cost, as supermarkets will pay farmers more to produce them. The techniques used to produce the larger eggs involve selective breeding and are in that sense not entirely 'natural'.

Phil Brooke, of Compassion in World Farming is another opponent of jumbo eggs, adding that "Selectively breeding hens for high productivity, whether larger eggs or larger numbers of eggs, can cause a range of problems such as osteoporosis, bone breakage and prolapse. We need to breed and feed hens so that they can produce eggs without risk to their health or welfare."

So the message to conscientious shoppers is to think of the poor chickens and avoid buying these eye-wateringly egg-sessive sized eggs. In solidarity with my feathered sisters, I'll certainly be 'laying off' the large sizes and honestly think that medium-sized eggs are often tastier anyway...


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