Why Ethical Eggs are a Feminist Issue

Feminism and the animal welfare are movements tightly intertwined. Like women, animals have historically been considered the “Other,” or “less than.” Our personhood serves as the elite leader in the hierarchy, deeming that non-human animals are less important than humans. But it wasn’t so long ago that women were also considered less than, only to be an extension of their fathers or husbands and unable to vote, own property, or make decisions independent of a man. Women were owned by men much in the same way non-human animals are today. There is perhaps an even a more specifically connection between farm animals and women, animals that are used for their commodification which is rooted in sexism. Today it’s estimated that the majority of people fighting for animal rights are women, suggesting a female-centric perspective between humans and non-human animals.

Chickens are arguably the most abused animals on earth, and viewed as one of the least deserving of ethical treatment and protection. Karen Davis argues in her piece Thinking Like a Chicken: Farm Animals And The Feminine Connection that “nonhuman animals are oppressed by basic strategies and attitudes that are similar to those operating in the oppression of women, it is also true that men have traditionally admired and even sought to emulate certain kinds of animals, even as they set out to subjugate and destroy them, whereas they have not traditionally admired or sought to emulate women.” Indeed, as Davis points out literature is ripe with examples of men emulating powerful creatures like the lion or whale while women are subjugated to comparisons to”weak” animals like the cow, or chicken.

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