Copyright Tamara Kenneally
The egg industry would have us imagine that hens just lay lots of eggs. This is not true. Hens, like other birds, lay one or two clutches of eggs annually, for the purpose of hatching their young. Selective breeding, in addition to artificial stimulation with lighting, and in some countries practices such as forced moulting, are used to ensure that they lay eggs for approximately 300 out of every 365 days. This is the human equivalent of a menstrual cycle and childbirth, on an almost daily basis.
So, it is not only the deplorable conditions that most hens are forced to live in that makes eggs unethical. Being bred to lay eggs in such unnatural quantities means that regardless of where they live (free range, organic, back yard or even animal rescues) the toll on their bodies is enormous.