Wages for Egg Laying Chickens

In case you haven’t noticed, egg prices have soared. According to a recent CNN article, the price of eggs has increased 84.5% due to the Avian Influenza that wiped out most of the egg laying chicken population in the mid-western states. (Click HERE to read article.) Household staples, such as mayonnaise and other foods that contain eggs as their main ingredient, have also seen prices skyrocket as a result of the egg shortage.

Yet, these surviving egg laying chickens, how are they profiting from the increase cost of their eggs? Nothing has changed for them. They can only lay one egg a day as nature intended. Meanwhile, that egg they painfully birthed? It’s being sold for double the original price! All the while, the chickens are clucking away, oblivious to their lack of participation in the increase profit margin of their eggs.

They have no agent, and they are certainly not unionized. When an interview was attempted, the chickens did nothing more than stare at me with their beady little eyes. A braver one strutted forward and pecked the microphone on my recorder. When I listened to the recording later, I heard nothing more than loud explosions.

Local congressmen were incredulous.

“Reimburse chickens for their eggs?” said one after I finally got through to him after several phone calls. “The actual chickens, you mean?”

“Why of course, the actual chickens! They’re the ones laying the eggs! The very eggs that are now selling for double! Hello? Hello? Mr. Congressman? Hello?”

PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) was less than helpful. First, they dismissed my suggestion that their acronym should really be PFTETOA (People For The Ethical Treatment OAnimals). Second, unbeknownst to me, they are against the entire egg industry. Reimbursing chickens for their eggs was not an option. They don’t want us eating eggs in the first place.

It seemed I was on my own. What would a solid wage be for egg laying chickens? I checked my wallet. Since I had just spent eight bucks on two cartons of eggs, all I had left was two dollars.

I decided to pay the chickens the difference in cost.

“Here chickens!” I said, “Here is two dollars. This is what you are owed. I used to pay two dollars for a dozen of your eggs. Now I pay four. You deserve the difference.”

The chickens watched as I threw the money into their pen. All at once, they scrambled for the dollar bills. Several grabbed the bills with their beaks. A fierce game of tug-of-war ensued, until one chicken (the one who had earlier pecked at my microphone, come to think of it) snatched the money and took off, swallowing it whole.

The second dollar bill was torn to shreds. The chickens pecked at the remains before losing interest. It seemed they had no use for monetary compensation for their egg laying efforts.

“You’re an idiot,” the chicken farmer said.

I tried to explain that I was advocating for the chickens; that they’re underpaid and have no representation. The chicken farmer informed me chickens are never paid. They don’t understand, or care, if their eggs are sold for profit.

The drive home was a let down. I had expected to leave the chicken farm feeling fulfilled, knowing that I had helped a lesser being. Instead I felt foolish. Of course chickens don’t need money! What was I thinking? Now what was I going to do?

Ostriches! There was a bird that needed my help! I’ve heard rumors of ostrich races, where people dressed like jockeys straddle these mammoth birds and race them towards the finish line, feathers flying everywhere, the ostriches looking panicked and thirsty.

I must find an ostrich race to boycott, maybe start an online shaming campaign that targets the owners of racing ostriches. But first, I had to make an omelet.

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