To understand just how confining a battery cage is for egg-laying hens, you need to imagine yourself and a couple other people living inside a bathtub without ever being allowed to stand, walk or stretch your arms. Add to that miniscule space the additional daily activities of eating and excreting. Do you get the picture?
This is exactly what battery-caged hens endure for the duration of their severely shortened lives. It’s not pretty.
Farm Sanctuary’s undercover video of Gemperle Farms, a California factory farm, helped voters pass the precedent-setting Proposition 2 in 2008. As horrible as it is to watch, it is important you share it with others to spread the truth about the cruelty of battery cages.
Farm Sanctuary’s Director and Co-Founder, Gene Baur, knows how slow the road to change is for farm animals. A firm believer in new laws as an impetus to change, Baur devotes a lot of his time with Farm Sanctuary to traveling the country and working at the grassroots level.
“The first step,” he told me, “is getting people to think animals on farms have feelings. Once the public truly understands this fact, they can send a statement to industry that factory farming is wrong and must be changed.”
A coalition of animal advocates named Washingtonians for Humane Farms in the state of Washington are working closely with Baur and Farm Sanctuary to get an initiative called the Prevention of Farm Animal Cruelty Act on the November ballot.
The proposed initiative calls not just for a ban on battery cages, but also on the sale of eggs from battery-caged hens. Petitions will be circulated to Washington residents.
Political change is often agonizingly slow. Baur understands the process and has the patience and tenacity to work within the system for the benefit of farm animals.
While recognizing this ballot initiative is a small first step in educating the public, he pragmatically understands that change has to start that way. “Asking to give battery-caged hens enough room to move and stretch is a far cry from achieving complete cruelty-free conditions – but it is a start,” says Baur.
Farm Sanctuary’s anti-confinement campaigns have achieved some successes in California and Michigan. They have also worked on gestational and veal crate issues in Florida, Arizona, Ohio and Oregon. To see how you can get involved with changing laws in your state, take a look at Farm Sanctuary’s website.
Flickr: Steven W
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