Dyed Easter chicks—a sad state of affairs

A cute little novelty for a day two—then what?

This practice of dyeing living beings for a few days of entertainment sends the wrong message to our children.

Some think it’s cute—I think it’s sick. The root problem here is that the human race has concluded that ALL other creatures were placed on this Earth—solely to serve at the pleasure of humans. Whether we eat them, just kill them for sport, or use them for entertainment—none of it in my opinion falls within the definition of humane.

Would you like a side of salmonella with those chicks? And in the case of the dyed chicks for Easter; it simply lacks dignity—and it demonstrates our collective lack of respect for the living, sentient beings involved; whose novelty and appeal will wear off within a day or two after the child receives them in their Easter basket. Then, there’s salmonella; from USA Today (See link below)

The cute little birds can carry salmonella and each year send dozens of children to the doctor’s office. Last year, 68 people got salmonella in 20 states from handling baby chicks and ducklings, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Almost a third were younger than 6 years old.

A religious holiday? Another issue is the fact that this is supposed to be a religious holiday—one celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ. What would he think about this cruel, thoughtless and callous practice?

So how in the heck do they dye them? Apparently them dye them before they hatch. From the New York Times article (see link below):

“You take regular food coloring and inject it into the egg on the 18th day of incubation,” said Peter R. Theer, a retired poultry rancher who lives outside Lampasas, Tex., and offers a how-to guide on his Web site. “They take 21 days to hatch. Put a little dab of wax on top to cover the hole up, and put it back in the incubator. It doesn’t hurt them, because the food coloring is perfectly safe.”

Easter should be a day of worship for Christians---not a day for exploiting the other creatures who share our planet.

I am embarrassed by what we have become. If humans had not started eating other creatures, there would be no dyed chicks, there would be much less suffering in this world, we would be much healthier and the planet would be in much better shape. There are many reasons to leave off the continued eating of meat, dairy and eggs—and only one of those reasons is animal welfare.

In my case, after watching the movie “Earthlings” about a year ago, I have viewed my relationship with the other creatures on this planet much differently. Even horse racing is disturbing to me now—it’s just another way we exploit other animals—for our own entertainment. If you watch Earthlings before Easter, I’ll bet you won’t think these dyed chicks are cute—ever again.

30-second video of dyed chicks

So what happens to the chicks eventually? “Until he closed shop in 2008, Mr. Theer sold dyed Easter chicks every year, always telling customers to bring the birds back if their children grew bored with them (which happened routinely). “We sold a lot of them,” he said. “People buy whatever is available. They’ll usually take one or two of each color, maybe 10 or 15 of them. The kids get tired of it pretty quick.” From a USA Today article:

“People need to think through whether they’re actually capable and willing to take on the care of this animal for its full lifetime,” which can be five years or more, says Candace Croney, a professor of animal sciences at Purdue University in Indiana.

Happy Easter! For your afternoon viewing pleasure, I have provided the movie “Earthlings” here for your convenience. Watch it with your children and they won’t ever again ask for live animals in their Easter baskets. And there children will grow up thinking that the whole idea would be preposterous. First the three-minute trailer, followed by a link to the 95-minute movie.

For the USA Today and  Times articles referenced above, here are the links:

(USA Today article) Cute chicks for Easter sicken kids

Dyeing Easter Chicks Raises Concerns – NYTimes.com.


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About J. Morris Hicks

A former strategic management consultant and senior corporate executive with Ralph Lauren in New York, J. Morris Hicks has always focused on the "big picture" when analyzing any issue. In 2002, after becoming curious about our "optimal diet," he began a study of what we eat from a global perspective ---- discovering many startling issues and opportunities along the way. In addition to an MBA and a BS in Industrial Engineering, he holds a certificate in plant-based nutrition from the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies, where he has also been a member of the board of directors since 2012. Having concluded that our food choices hold the key to the sustainability of our civilization, he has made this his #1 priority---exploring all avenues for influencing humans everywhere to move back to the natural plant-based diet for our species.
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5 Responses to Dyed Easter chicks—a sad state of affairs

  1. Charles culp says:

    After fifty years the governor of the state of Florida, Rick Scott, has signed a bill into law that will allow the sale of dyed baby chickens. The law had also banned the selling of baby chickens, ducklings, or other fowl younger than 4 weeks old or rabbits younger than 2 months old as “pets, toys or retail premiums.” http://www.news-press.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2012304070016 That law is now repealed. It seems that we are constantly heading backwards due to the massive ignorance of our public officials, and corporate greed. This new law will result in the unnecessary suffering of countless animals and needs to be repealed.

  2. Peter says:

    As long as there is money to be made ‘animals are exploited’.
    Will humanity develop enough humility that animals will be seen for sentient beings that they are?

  3. Linda201 says:

    I have a sister who’s been “pretty much” (her words) a vegetarian for over 15 years, and is now supposedly “leaning vegan.” A few days ago she sent me a link to a video that showed lion cubs playing lovingly with their human caregiver. It was so touching. I thanked her for sharing it and remarked that when I watch videos like that, I feel so happy that I don’t eat animals. She said, “Well it’s not like you’d be eating lion cubs if you did eat animals.” I was dumbfounded. She doesn’t “get it” either!

  4. Jim

    My Easter dinner with my family: some numbers.

    18 people in attendance:

    Overweight/Obese: 11 . . . 61.1%. Of the obese, all five were diabetic.
    Normal: 7 . . . 38.9%

    I could have cried my message for plant foods and no one would have listened or even cared.

    Change? I still say . . . in what century?

    Sal Liggieri

  5. Leo S. says:

    Another must-see video. Many people don’t eat animals because they don’t want to see them raised inhumanely for food. There is no joy for most in seeing an animal slaughtered, unless it is euthanasia to end a painful condition. We should be first concerned how eating animals will affect us. People will eat and give colored foods to their children, even though some have been classed as carcinogens.

    Years ago people died when they colored their bodies for parades or other theatrical events. The skin is the largest organ of the body and will absorb substances as is evidenced by the many skin patches that are used for various reasons.

    The following article you posted was sent to many people. Of the few responses received they all stated that they were not interested in “drinking rats’ milk.” When asked about their response they admitted that they did not read the article or see the link to “Udderly Amazing.” This is another article to read and view the video. Most people eat dairy and are not aware of all the problems it might present to them.


    Another video to see is the following, which discusses the food supply and evolution of various animals. Most of us do not know how food affects us. The more we learn about our world and our part in maintaining things as they are, or making positive changes for the better, the sooner our lives and health of the planet will improve.


    Wishing you and all you touch the very best in healthh and happiness.

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