Egg on their faces

Ben and Jerry’s, after getting a serious beatdown by the Humane Society last week, has agreed to stop buying eggs from a large-scale producer that allegedly abuses chickens.

The animal rights group’s investigation of the Minnesota-based egg farm Michael Foods turned up a massive factory farm full of starving, sick, and injured chickens (plus dead ones in the same cages). The socially and environmentally conscious ice-cream company bought as many as 30 million eggs a year from the farm.

B&J still hasn’t committed to using cage-free eggs in the U.S. (though the company uses only free-range eggs in ice cream sold in Europe.) Perhaps none of this should be surprising, since the long-haired hippies who brought you Cherry Garcia and Phish Food sold out to food-and-household-products behemoth Unilever in 2000. Still, B&J’s purports to be as concerned as ever about the sourcing of its ingredients, pledging to support family farmers and fight global warming.

Granted, cage-free eggs are expensive. So maybe B&J should nix eggs from their recipes altogether and try substituting arrowroot, cornstarch, or soy powder. Or go for goose eggs, when they’re in season: These bad boys can be used in place of two chicken eggs (only 15 million needed that way!), and they’re more nutritious, too. Plus, geese are ill-suited to industrial-scale farming and it’s against the law to give ducks or geese hormones or antibiotics. Lucky birds.