7th August, 2005 The box said that the hens were fed vegetarians. Is this a good thing? View large

Dear Sir,

I have, in front of me, one of your egg cartons.

It says:

Cage eggs from 12 vegetarian fed hens.

Now I would have thought that you would have had a few more chickens on the go than twelve but I guess under Mr Howard's new IR policies you just whip them harder, for longer. But I was really more interested in their diet.

Granted, chickens are omnivores and at their happiest when scratching around and harassing grubs, and worms, and cockroaches, and all manner of low life. I am happy with that, I have no argument with that at all. But there are limits.

Of course, I know a few vegetarians, and they are alright, I suppose. They tend to create a bit of a bother at meal times when the catering staff have to either move everyone to the lowest common dietary denominator or start running a lengthy menu du jour. And, I admit, there have been a few notable vegetarians: Jerry Seinfeld, Kelly Osbourne, Chelsea Clinton...

But do you think it proper to feed vegetarians to your chickens?

I mean, what would our society be like if we hadn't had people like Seinfeld and the Misses Osbourne and Clinton?

Do you realize what your chickens and their bizarre diet are depriving us of?

Yours egged on but still aghast,

J Cosmo Newbery