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Sitting here enjoying my grapefruit seltzer (yes I drink grapefruit seltzer – I wonder if that would be available under government food-care … if it was, everyone would be forced to buy it) …

… anyway, across the newswire comes this story about how egg farms/hatcheries dispose of young male chicks because they are too costly to raise into meat, and they do not lay eggs, and therefore are of little value to the farmers.

Runkle acknowledged that his group’s ultimate goal was to get people to stop eating eggs. He said he believe many would refuse to eat eggs if they knew what happened to male chicks. “The egg industry is perhaps the cruelest industry on the face of the planet.”

No doubt dumping chicks into a grinder is gruesome. But here come the indictments of evil capitalism, unsustainable industry, the horrors of “cheap” eggs, and so on. And that is all nonsense. First of all, groups like Mercy for Animals or the Humane Society are certainly free to purchase chicks before they are thrown into grinders. But I suspect they would not wish to do so.  After all, the chick farmers said they would give them away – it actually costs them something to dispose of them. Instead, groups like these wish to see the government spend other people’s money in the name of making the chicks’ lives more humane.

Perhaps people would eat fewer eggs if they were conscious of this, and the same of beef or chicken or even fish. But one reason why human health and well being is so high today is the abundance of inexpensive and nutritious food. Could we all afford a few cents more on eggs … perhaps, but for some people it would represent a considerable burden.

Before concluding a post I was in no mood to write, let me remind you that under the most thoughtful democratic socialist governments, chicks are killed by the millions, and certainly under the most repressive regimes, people are treated like the chicks you see here. In fact, Stalin not only shot and tortured millions of Ukranian, Georgian, and Russian peasants, he shot many in his close circle – including women and young adults in some cases. How come I still read articles that say, “yeah, that was unfortunate, but look at how fast he helped turn a backward nation into an industrial power?”

Perhaps that is true, but if you can overlook a few of Stalin’s violent “indiscretions” then how is it possible that you do not treat the chicks the same way.

But allow me to argue another way. I am not thrilled that chicks get slaughtered. However, it is only via the potential for an entrepreneur to capitalize on these previously undervalued resources that the prospects for an improved situation for them exist. No amount of regulation, moral posturing, censuring, boycotting, will do anything to abate the problem. And what if people decided they wished to raise their own eggs? Would that mean that suddenly male chicks would have value? No. And what has the ability to capitalize on entrepreneurial sweat done for animals? It has saved the whales (kerosene and oil replaced whale oil as the common form of lighting), it has freed the horses from the horrors of being transport animals in crowded and dirty inner cities, it has exploded the population of numerous animal species that we eat (think whether cows would be so common if we did not eat them), and so forth.

But inevitably, capitalism stands trial with the death sentence already in the hands of the judge and jury. This will be added to the list of “evils” of modern life to make us all feel guilty and worthless. We are destroying the planet by driving cars, we are torturing animals by behaving as we are expected in the food chain, and this is all because a vast conspiracy of well-to-do conservative rich guys are imposing vicious capitalism on all of us unsuspecting drones. I don’t particularly believe that there is a humane way to kill anything – so the entire meat-eater thing sits a little uncomfortably with me, but I would love to drill down and learn what the real concern of the folks like this are? 9 times out of 10 it is simply their dislike of modern industrial society, and deep down they would like to see the world roll back thousands of years of progress so that we could all live the more humane existence that our ancestors did – dying at age 25 from water borne illness, having no antibiotics to treat humans (or animals for that matter), and relying on mysticism and fantasy to explain what would otherwise be understood with the pursuit of science. Why do you think the ancients had sea gods and storm gods and all manner of mystical gods? It might have had a little to do with their lack of knowledge of storms, the sea, the clouds, and beyond.

s the newswire comes this story about how egg farms/hatcheries dispose of young male chicks because they are too costly to raise into meat, a

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