There is basic information about factory farming that everyone should know. You should know where your food is coming from. And you should know the livelihoods of the animals used to produce that food.
The good people over at The Humane Society of the United States just released brand new undercover investigation footage from inside the walls of four Iowa factory farms, owned by two of the country’s largest egg producers. The investigation took place in February and March, and uncovered unimaginable horrors at Rose Acre Farms and Rembrandt Enterprises — the second and third largest egg producers in the nation.
Here are just a handful of the egregious acts and deplorable conditions uncovered at the Rembrandt Enterprises factory farms:
- The wings, necks, legs and feet of hens entangled in cage wires.
- When slamming battery cage doors shut, workers would sometimes catch birds’ wings, legs and necks in the door, leading to broken bones.
- The HSUS investigator caught–on tape–hens with abscesses that caused their eyes to close and beaks and mouths to swell.
- The investigator discovered many dead hens who had clearly suffered uterine prolapses. One live hen’s prolapse actually became caught in the floor of her cage.
- Rather than euthanizing sick, injured and suffering hens, the animals were often returned to their cages.
- The HSUS investigator found hens stuck in manure pits—starving to death.
A few weeks ago I wrote about Subway moving towards phasing in cage-free eggs. Some of you responded, saying it’s not enough. And you’re right. In no way does cage-free mean cruelty-free. But let’s be realistic, folks, we have to start somewhere.
Cage-free hens certainly don’t get to frolic in wide-open, divinely green pastures, but life for these hens is a whole hell of a lot better than what I just described above. Cage laying hens are considered to be among the most grossly confined animals in all of agribusiness. Hens crammed into battery cages are not permitted to walk, spread their wings, or lay their eggs in nests—a trait innate of all hens and one that they heartbreakingly struggle to make happen even in their barren, wire steel cages, obviously to no avail.
While about 95 percent of egg-laying hens are forced to endure life in battery cages–which, on average, afford each bird less space than a single sheet of 8 X 11 inch paper to live in–cage-free hens generally have two to three times more space per bird. They may not be able to go outside, and they may still have parts of their beaks cut off without anesthetics, but cage-free hens are allowed to spread their wings, walk around, and lay their eggs in nests. And some are even provided perching and dust-bathing areas.
Again, cage-free is certainly not the end-all solution, but it’s a huge step in the right direction.
Please watch the video. I warn you, it is graphic and may be upsetting, but please, please watch. You need to know exactly where your food is coming from. And if you don’t want to commit to eliminating eggs from your diet, please do your best to buy cage-free eggs. The hens will thank you, I promise.
Do your part and promise to BUY CAGE-FREE!
photo credit: thanks to HSUS for use of the image