Where to Buy Ethical Eggs in Canada

Many food-conscious Canadians pay attention to the food they’re buying, whether it’s healthy or not, whether there’s a better price at competitors, like checking prices from weekly flyers, or whether to stock up on best buys and so on. Grocery shopping for the health and cost-conscious Canadian can be daunting, of course, and the task only gets more difficult if you care about animal welfare. 

But you know that when you are buying cruelty-free products, you are doing well to animals worldwide, whether it’s buying cosmetics and personal care items that aren’t tested on animals or foods ethically sourced. So, daunting as the task is, you know ethical eating is worth it.

The thing about ethical eggs

There are so many types of eggs on the market nowadays that it really only makes it more confusing for shoppers to discern between ethical eggs and conventional eggs. Free range, pasture-raised, organic eggs – these are common labels that are supposed to tell you exactly what you are eating and how ethical your food.

The various approaches to egg labeling started when more people grew aware of battery hens. The inhumane treatment applied to chickens in factory farming that are raised for eggs and meat at such a large scale behooved many shoppers to adopt ethics of eating for a better world. People demanded more ethical choices and the egg industry provided. But not all ethical eggs are produced equally.
In Canada, as in most of the other countries in the world, over 90% of all eggs come from battery-confined hens. The rest are cage-free, free-run, free-range or organic eggs, so 10% of all egg production in Canada is more ethical than the counterpart. But more ethical isn’t 100% ethical, and more ethical options don’t necessarily favor the birds so much.

- Cage-free eggs – hens are not confined to battery cages, but they have no access to outdoor space, and can be fed hormones and given medication with consequences on the well being of the bird and the egg quality.
- Free-run eggs – hens are usually housed in concrete walls and flooring facilities where they are free to move around, but there is no access to the great outdoors and overcrowding can still be an issue.
- Free-range eggs: hens have some access to the great outdoors, but there are no regulations concerning the amount of time they spend outside or the quality of that time.
- Organic eggs: hens are provided with tolerable living conditions including access to the outdoors, and in addition they are fed organic feed.

Where to buy ethical eggs
The best places in Canada to buy ethical eggs are local farmers. In grocery stores, the best options are certified organic eggs.
Sourcing organic eggs or eggs from local farmers is a great way to make sure the eggs you buy were produced with as little impact to the environment as possible and that animals were treated ethically in the process. Because many terms in egg labeling are nothing but marketing strategies, buying local probably remains the best option since consumers may have a better chance of exploring the source and see for themselves how the eggs are produced.

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