LAST UPDATED: 21 July 2016
Chickens are remarkably intelligent and social animals, each with a distinct personality. Like all animals, they deserve a life free from cruelty. You can help change the lives of these sensitive animals by eating fewer eggs or going egg-free — and choosing not to support an industry that still confines most of its laying hens to battery cages, and sentences millions of unwanted male chicks to a cruel death every year.
Why go egg-free?
Cage egg sales are in decline as more and more caring shoppers realise that battery hens endure lives of misery. With less space per bird than one A4 sized piece of paper, a laying hen is forced to stand on wire 24 hours a day and cannot even stretch her wings. Truly free range and organic egg farms afford birds more space and access to the outdoors — which is essential to their wellbeing. However hens in all commercial egg systems are sent to slaughter when their egg production wanes at about 18 months of age (of a natural lifespan of about 10 years).
To replace 'spent' hens, millions of chicks are hatched yearly, of which only half will grow up to lay eggs. The other half — approximately 12 million economically 'worthless' day-old male chicks — are either gassed to death or ground up alive. Sadly, these baby animals face being discarded regardless of the 'production system' they were born into — cage, barn or free range.
This video shows what happens to chicks in industrial hatcheries throughout Australia.
Easy egg-free baking
Fortunately cooking your favourite dishes without eggs is a cinch — whether you're into mud cakes, pancakes, cupcakes, or even meringue! Here are some of our favourite recipes. Click on the links below to download individual recipe cards, or click here to print them all.
Adapting your favourite recipes
For an all-purpose egg substitute, look out for Orgran's 'No Egg' — found in the health food section of most supermarkets. One packet of 'No Egg' is equivalent to 66 eggs, and works well in savoury and sweet dishes alike. These days, you can even find egg yolk replacer: try The Vegg for French toast and lemon curd.
Banana or apples are perfect replacements for egg in sweet baked goods — simply stir through half a mashed banana, or a 1/4 cup of applesauce (homemade or bought) to bind. Or try adding 1 tablespoon of white or apple cider vinegar along with your liquid ingredients, and sift 1 teaspoon of baking soda into the dry mixture, for super fluffy muffins and cupcakes! While a 1/4 cup dairy-free soy or coconut yoghurt adds a delicious tang and airiness to baked goods.
Making chook-friendly quiche is a breeze with silken tofu in the filling, while a touch of cornflour makes for a divinely crisp and airy pastry.
For wholesome, nutrition-rich muffins, cookies, slices and cakes, try ground flax/linseed or chia seeds: soaked in 3 tablespoons of water per 1 tablespoon of seeds, the resulting mix will thicken and can then be stirred through your other ingredients.