Living Eggs — dead chicks We urge all schools across the country not to participate in the cruel Living Eggs project. Living Eggs is a commercial, for profit, venture promoted to schools with the claim to offer young children the chance to experience the “miracle of life” by watching chicks hatch from their eggs. But in fact, the project causes immense suffering to the chicks with the overwhelming majority living for only a very short time before being sent for slaughter. The truth behind the project A new-born chick is for life — not just for a project Like all other new-born animals, baby chicks need the warmth and protection of their mother from the moment of their birth. But in this project, the chicks never see their mother but instead emerge into a noisy, cha-otic environment where they are roughly handled by excited children, all of which causes the chicks extreme distress. In the picture shown on the right one of the new-born chicks is already dead, the result of the stress she was forced to experience during her very short life. No thought is given to the immediate or longer-term welfare interests of these ani-mals, treating them as being of only very short-term interest for a brief “project”. The Living Eggs project does not show children the “miracle of life” but instead ex-poses them to a false view of these animals’ lives, causing them to believe that we do not have to care for their welfare, and that they are only there for us to use — and discard — as we please … simply to satisfy our curiosity.
Welfare failure The chicks cannot express any of their natural behaviours, and do not have the opportunity to learn from their mothers. Instead, they are forced into an unnatural environment and after the end of the two-week project, they are casually passed on — most often to so-called “free-range” farms, which sounds fine in practice but in reality means that the overwhelming majority will be destined for early slaughter or over-worked in the egg-laying industry, resulting is stress, injury and prema-ture death. The “Living Eggs” project is, in truth, all about death. Real alternatives There are real alternatives for your school! Rather than bringing animals into the artificial environment of the classroom, especially at the vitally important moment of an animal’s birth, why not take your pupils out to an animal sanc-tuary? There are many sanctuaries around the UK and they offer children the opportunity to see animals in the natural environment, seeing them express their natural behaviours, and living out the full-ness of their lives — not just a brief glimpse into one moment of that animal’s life. This is genuinely educational and is a much more honest approach to animal welfare. It provides children with the real opportunity to learn, at first hand from the volunteers, about the importance of looking after all of an animal’s needs and welfare interests. This way, children really do learn, in a practical and engaging setting, about the “miracle of life” .