Eggs of Justice

I can never complain that my family lacks passion for causes they support. They get angry, voice their opinions quite eloquently, and generally have strong, deeply held, well-reasoned views on those causes.

And as each of them has grown up, they’ve adopted more and more causes. Which ultimately is a good thing: apathy is crap. It makes me proud that they’re able to form these opinions so well on their own. And that they’re willing to support their causes in spite of what kind of social headwinds the world might through at them.

So now that the girls are in high school, I suppose I should have realized that one or both of them would find some cause that spoke to them. And I suppose I should have known that cause would affect me in some concrete way.

The latest is the result of a video Hannah saw in class. It talked about conditions at chicken and egg farms. And it grabbed her attention.

The upshot is this: I am now buying, whenever possible, cage-free and antibiotic-free eggs and chicken products. And I’ve pushed that to include similarly raised beef. All because it’s an important issue to Hannah and I want to let her know that I support her views and the issue itself.

Now, I’m not complaining (at least about Hannah’s stand on the issue), but for those who haven’t strolled down aisle of the meat section of their grocery store or haven’t looked at the comparative prices for, say, a family pack of “normal” chicken breasts and a similar pack of cage-free and antibiotic-free organic chicken breasts (hereafter referred to as “happy chicken”), you won’t realize that it’s close to twice as expensive for the happy chicken as it is for the non-happy chicken.

And I’m still trying to figure out whether the organic chicken packs I can get at Costco comply with the requirements of the diet. Because nothing is as confusing as food labeling.

As I’ve learned with the gluten-free diet, food labeling is a morass of confusion and stupidity, all wrapped in an incoherent shell of hyperbole. It is the perfect intersection of marketing speak and governmental regulation.

I’m discovering that I’m just starting to learn this whole new language…

Like organic means that the chickens are feed organic feed and don’t get antibiotics unless medically necessary starting the day after they hatch. It also means that they aren’t necessarily cage-free or free range, rather that they have to be provided with access to the outdoors, though there aren’t any regulations for how much access they should have and how big the space outdoors needs to be.

Cage-free apparently isn’t a thing, as all chickens are cage-free. At least the ones raised for meat.

Free range means the chickens can go outside. Like for a walk, or to watch this week’s solar eclipse.

So, I get to read more labels when shopping. I already read for gluten-free products, I read for diabetic-friendly products. And now I’ll read for free range cage-free happy chicken.