Egg Mother - Day 176 "Egg Mother" is my performance art piece symbolizing the amount of abuse and suffering experienced by female chickens in the egg industry. For the entire lifespan of a chicken, I will take time to create an egg out of clay every day, no matter the day, to mourn the female chickens who are unnaturally forced to lay one egg a day, putting a tremendous amount of strain on their bodies. For a female chicken, the average number of eggs laid (naturally) would be about 15 per year, and she would live to be about 8-10 years old. In the egg industry, female chickens are forced to lay an egg every day until their bodies give out from the exhaustion at 1-2 years, when they are then taken to slaughter for meat. By taking away eggs from a hen’s nest, she instinctually must produce another one, which becomes very hard on her body. The conditions egg-laying chickens live in are some of the most cruel in animal agriculture. The typical cage is so small that they don't have room to stand up, turn around, or groom themselves, which becomes very frustrating as they go against their natural instincts. The cages are stacked on top of each other so that the chickens relieve themselves onto each other, while still being unable to clean themselves. The eggs fall through the bars of the cages to be collected. Free-range and cage-free are no better because they are often just grouped in larger spaces with more chickens, where they must climb on top of each other with no real room to move. Some people believe that buying local or organic eggs from smaller farms or backyard chickens is humane, however the chicken is still usually forced to produce an extreme and unnatural amount of eggs, thus putting unnecessary abuse on her body and probably shortening her life. Although this piece focuses on the life of female chickens, it should be noted that a frequent practice in the industry is the grinding up of male chicks alive in machines similar to wood chippers after they hatch. Because they don't lay eggs, it doesn't make much economical sense to keep the male chicks alive. Eggs (as well as all animal products) are unnecessary, unhealthy, replaceable, and never humane.