04/13/2012 06:31 pm ET

Tonight's Table Talk: Would You Ever Give Up Your Favorite Food?

This week's Family Dinner Table Talk, from HuffPost and The Family Dinner book:

What came first, big factory farms or the big debate about whether they should exist?

This week, New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof wrote about an undercover investigation of one of these farms. It's a chicken factory, the type of place that produces 4.5 million eggs per day. They do this cheaply because they treat the chickens a little bit like machinery. Many writers and people who are passionate about animal rights have taken issue with these sorts of places. Often, for activists, it comes down to the cages. As Kristof learns, this farm keeps 11 chickens in a crate the size of an oven.

It's hard to read and think about treating living creatures this way. So Kristof asks, "Is an egg for breakfast worth this?" and highlights some of the most alarming parts of the Humane Society's report -- you can read them here.

On the flip side, Kreider Farms insists: "The allegations by HSUS are a gross distortion of Kreider Farms, our employees and the way we care for our birds." If a farm is raising enough food to feed millions, Kreider Farms's president told Kristof, some of the animals will have to die.

Where does the food you eat come from? Think about whether an investigation like this would ever make you change the way you pick your favorite meals.

Questions for discussion:

  • What rights do animals have?
  • Is it important for people to see what goes on behind the scenes at major food companies?
  • If you're a vegetarian, was mistreatment of animals the reason you decided not to eat meat? If you eat meat now, would you consider going vegetarian?
  • What would it take for you to give up eating your favorite food? Is eating less of something a solution?

In her new cookbook, The Family Dinner, Laurie David talks about the importance of families making a ritual of sitting down to dinner together, and how family dinners offer a great opportunity for meaningful discussions about the day's news. "Dinner," she says, "is as much about digestible conversation as it is about delicious food."

We couldn't agree more. So HuffPost has joined with Laurie and every Friday afternoon, just in time for dinner, our editors highlight one of the most compelling news stories of the week -- stories that will spark a lively discussion among the whole family.