Happy hens – a question of ethics

Tim Eyes (5)

I recently read The Circle which I note is being released as a movie later this year. You can find Margaret Attwood’s review of the book here  .

I am also watching ‘Continuum” on Netflix – not exactly riveting television but definitely  some very interesting reflections on ethics and what the future could look like depending on the decisions we make in the here and now .

“Look closely at the present you are constructing. It should look like the future you are dreaming.” …… Alice Walker

We are being asked to make many of the decisions now that are being played out in The Circle and Continuum and in movies like Eye in the Sky 

The Happy Hens caged egg scenario is the current example. Its a tough world out there for the hen whether she lives in a cage, a barn or gets to graze on pasture.

Life is risky for her.Being in the situation where I do know the stats – there are genuine reasons to house hens in cages – lets not beat up the farmers who do this well.

Are caged hens happy – would you be happy living in a cage?. Your kidding you say yet lots of us do live in “cages” in fact we probably all do, some more than others.


Too many humans live in cages like structures in our modern world 

We have many restrictions on our everyday lives and everyday those restrictions increase and others are making our decisions for us.

For me its time to stop demonising the farmer and the system and get comfortable about the choices we make everyday. Most of the time there are no right and wrong choices just the best choices at that point in time.

The future isn’t a place we just get to go – it is a place we get to create.  Together.

Author: Lynne Strong

I am a 6th generation farmer who loves surrounding myself with optimistic, courageous people who believe in inclusion, diversity and equality and embrace the power of collaboration. I am the founder of Picture You in Agriculture. Our team design and deliver programs that inspire pride in Australian agriculture and support young people to thrive in business and life

2 thoughts on “Happy hens – a question of ethics”

  1. Lynne, this is a strange post. I don’t even understand your intention here. You seem to be inviting us to consider ethical matters in decision making but for some reason choose to use the caged egg and chicken industry as your example. Yet this is easily one of the most egregiously unethical of all farming practices.

    You specifically draw a parallel between humans “living in cages” and chickens living in cages which naturally causes the reader to assume some kind of equivalence between the two. You go on to suggest that even if caging chickens for eggs and meat is a bit iffy, we shouldn’t worry too much about whether this is right or wrong. There aren’t any “right” choices, only best choices for the time and place. But what exactly IS a best choice in respect to living creatures when not also informed by moral and ethical considerations?

    Are you here absolving us of any responsibility to actually seek ethical ways in the world? Is your purpose to simply defend the unethical rather than examine our moral conscience, or worse to discard it entirely in favour of what is best for us regardless of cost to others?

    There are many kinds of farmers. Is it a necessity that any farmer is moved to defend any other farmer, or farming system, just because each belongs to the tribe? I do hope not, but that’s the conclusion I draw from this post.

    1. Hi Graeme
      I am not absolving anybody of responsibility
      The question is what is ethical food production and how do you define it?
      No matter what the system there are trade-offs as the videos in the post show
      It’s up to each of us to make the decision which system more aligns with our values.

      Many thanks for your comments

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