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Wait, I'm confused now. I said in my post that eggs are higher-suffering than beef according to some calculations, and you presented another calculation indicating that eggs are higher-suffering than beef, so I think we just agree?

I do expect Vital Farms to be a lot better than an average cheap egg brand with no certifications. I'm not sure how they compare to the average brand that's Certified Humane and USDA Certified Organic (a combination that requires outdoor access*, no debeaking, and no forced-molting), but my guess would be that they're better than that too. Most of my uncertainty comes from lack of knowledge of chicken psychology (is being outdoors but in a large flock of 20k birds a lot less stressful than being indoors in a large dense flock, or about the same? Does beak trimming cause chronic pain or frustration as the hens can't forage as well?)

One specific consideration with Vital Farms is that their practices vary by farm: they're a collective of small farms nationwide, and it seems that they have different subgroups of farms that adhere to different standards. Here are the Cornucopia institute's egg scorecards for both their standard and "regenerative organic" lines: standard, regenerative organic. Based on Cornucopia, I think both lines still look pretty good, even compared to other organic farms.

*asterisk on "outdoor access" since apparently USDA Organic counts caged-in porches as outdoor access, which seems bad to me

Unfortunately, I think that there are no US farms yet that use in-ovo sexing (though I'd love to hear about it if I'm wrong about that!) I know it's been implemented in Germany and I think is being adopted more widely in Europe, but I don't think the US has followed suit yet. Even the Animal Welfare Approved certification doesn't have any requirements about what do with male chicks, it simply states that they can be "removed" from the AWA system (meaning, I think, transferred off-farm and then no certification-related requirements apply to them anymore, so they're probably just macerated as usual. :( )

Re: hen feed and insects, I think that the "natural forage" that these farms refers to means that chickens forage for bugs in the ground. I'm not sure to what extent these are wild insects vs grubs raised for chicken feed, but either way, if you're worried about insect suffering, it seems possible that pasture-raised foraging chickens contribute more to that than a corn-fed chicken would (though given the pesticides used to grow the corn, I'm not actually sure).

Yeah, keel bone fractures -- and bone issues in general -- is something I'd love to get more data on. I couldn't find any publicly-available information about this for most of the farms I evaluated, but I know that Fifth Crow Farm uses heritage breeds and specifically calls out that they have healthier genetics because they lay fewer eggs (which means less calcium is spent on eggshells compared to bone growth). 

I couldn't find any information on whether other farms use heritage breeds, and I don't know how much you can minimize the risk of fractures in other ways (providing calcium supplementation, not using e.g. forced-molting to induce extra laying cycles, giving hens plenty of outdoor space so they don't injure themselves in stress). Have you heard anything about ways to mitigate fracture risk?

I totally agree that the average cage-free hen lives a very painful life; I'm trying to figure out if there are any farms that I can buy from where this isn't true. My best guess is that the chickens in some smaller family farms aren't in a lot of pain -- Fifth Crow Farm, which I mention above, raises heritage breed chickens in small flocks and keeps them outside except to lay and sleep. I also currently believe that the other brands I recommend have significantly lower-suffering chickens than the average cage-free organic farm chicken.

I do think that my analysis doesn't take into account all of the things I'd like to, including whether the farm uses heritage breeds (with healthier genetics / less prone to chronic pain), whether the male chicks are killed (I'm pretty sure they always are) and if so how quickly and humanely are they killed, how well the farm cares for the health of its hens in general (I couldn't find any data on this in the evaluation tools I used, and I don't have the expertise to evaluate it myself), and what happens to the hens after they're too old to lay (some of these farms let their hens live out their natural lifespan on the farm; in others the spent hens are "sold live" and I don't know what happens to them next).

Based on this comment, I'll add these limitations to the "is this enough" section of the post.

I'm not Jeff, but this example made me think you were calling for avoiding all but the most serious / "the one"-type relationships:

Bob is polyamorous with multiple people, including Alice, AND Alice is not his primary

Avoiding this would prevent a lot of really good (and serious!) relationships in this community. Many secondary relationships are serious and strong and long-lasting, and some primary relationships start out as secondary relationships. Conflating "secondary relationships" with "sleeping around" seems really mistaken to me.

I still mostly agree with this sentiment, but after having been poly for 8 years, I agree with it a lot less than I used to. I think poly can be very easy, and also that there a lot of pitfalls that I didn't predict until I found myself in them. I've made significant mistakes as recently as a year ago that changed my mind about how to best approach things like jealousy and commitment.

Some specific ways I've changed in the last couple years: I've become more willing to change or limit my own behavior in response to my partners' insecurity (while still dispreferring "rules"), err towards proactively having explicit conversations with all my partners as my feelings change or develop over time, have a higher bar of interest for starting relationships than I used to, and lean more towards breaking up over "de-escalating" with ex-primaries (but not in all situations). I wish I'd had some of these models earlier -- I could have avoided hurting some people I cared about -- but I do think they were hard to learn without experience.

I'm sure I'd have had a different set of relationship lessons to learn if I'd been monogamous for 8 years; I don't think monogamy is simple either! But I also think some of the complex situations where I was most likely to hurt others were specific to polyamory (for example, wanting to "switch primaries" while still dating my previous primary).

ETA: still largely agree with you that it's very possible to get to the point of "this seems as simple as any other relationship structure", especially if you're in a pretty stable relationship configuration, or if you and your partners are all pretty chill / ok with fluidity of time and commitment