Life Through the Eyes of a Chicken in a Battery Cage

It is difficult to truly comprehend the intense, daily suffering of animals in factory farms. In the United States, 10 billion animals are killed every year for human consumption. Most of those animals are chickens who are raised for their meat or their eggs. Groups like Vegan Outreach use leaflets and pamphlets to show people how cruelly animals are treated in animal agribusiness, others use films and videos. But there are limits to text on a leaflet or video taken during an undercover investigation. It is difficult to see the world from the perspective of the animal in the cage. That is why Mark Middleton created the Virtual Battery Cage, an online tool that allows us to spend a few moments looking through the eyes of a hen in a battery cage. 
Using the mouse, you can change the perspective in the 3D world and swing around to see other birds cramped together into the 17″ x 17″ cage. You’ll find a dead bird in the cage with you, which is all too common. In the tool, Middleton includes a number of facts to compliment the audiovisual experience. For example, 95% of egg-laying hens raised in the U.S. (about 300 million birds a year) are confined in battery cages. Whereas chickens have a wingspan of about 30 inches, a typical battery cage measures about 17 x 17 inches, and each cage holds 5 or 6 birds on average, and sometimes up to 10. While the hens wouldn’t be able to spread their wings even if they were individually caged, the average amount of space per bird is about 8.2 x 8.2 inches, an area smaller than a standard sheet of paper.

Why did he spend the time and energy to make this innovative tool? Mark Middleton wants “to compel viewers to empathize with caged hens by seeing their world from their point of view, and to show that chickens are not just things, but actual living beings whose feelings matter. I also wanted to make something interactive and interesting that would attract viewers to the facts about the misery that chickens suffer just so humans can eat their eggs.”

This simulation of a battery cage may be virtual, but unfortunately for millions of egg-laying chickens, battery cages are a terrible reality. We can end this cruelty by foregoing eggs and eating a vegan diet. We can also educate others about factory farming and battery cages. Here’s an easy way to start: forward this simulation to your family and friends.

13 comments

Beth Wilkerson
Beth Wilkerson4 years ago

Oh how I wish that the animals that are slaughtered for food lived the way we imagined as children... roaming grassy hillsides and valleys and having a real life.

antonia maestre
antonia maestre4 years ago

"You have just dined, and however scrupulously the slaughterhouse is concealed in the graceful distance of miles, there is complicity.”
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

antonia maestre
antonia maestre4 years ago

“How can we ourselves find peace when we are the living graves of murdered animals?"
-George Bernard Shaw

Lynne B.
Lynne B4 years ago

All factory farming should be outlawed. No need for it in this modern day and age. Pure greed on the owners part.

PJ W.
PJ W7 years ago

This is so sad. My grandmother raised her own chickens for eggs and meat but they had land and got to act like chickens. I was a very little girl and, as an adult, am so appalled at the turns greed has taken it makes me sick to my stomach. This is just depressing and I was only on a virtual tour.

Delight S.
Delight S7 years ago

I too raise chickens as pets, and they produce the only eggs I eat. In the industry, unfortunately, even "free range" can have chickens living in some pretty miserable situations!! so be wary of the term "free range" at the grocery store! if you must by eggs, get them from someone you know who raises chickens in a good way!!! mine have their own house, and 5 acres to roam as they please...with all the bugs and grass they can eat!!!!

VIVIAN m.
VIVIAN m7 years ago

Why do animals get treated this way?, it is just cruel, I purchase free range eggs, they are all shapes and sizes and could not be sold in any shops because of this.
Let the Chucks run free and be happy please.

Diane Miles
Diane Miles7 years ago

There is no excuse for any animal being treated like this, living in a small cage beside a dead corpse where they can not ever spread their wings this is inhuman to treat any animal like this.

Carmen Caruso
Carmen Caruso7 years ago

As soon as I seen the conditions that factory farmed animals endure in August 2008, I could not look back. I honestly thought that farmed animals had somewhat decent lives. The conditions are so unsanitary and disgusting. I feel completely duped by big money. I used to eat 2-3 chickens per week and had an animal based product for every meal because I thought it was healthy for me. I am a vegetarian and eat small amounts of cheese and fish. My main diet consists of fibre filled foods, veggies, fruits, soy, beans, soups, potatoes, etc. AND I LOVE IT! I feel better now than when I was on a high protein mainly chicken based diet, have even energy, less arthritic inflammation... the list goes on! Big money factory farming has to end. It pollutes the groundwater, promotes violence and apathy. NO MORE. Who wants to eat a chicken that lived beside a corpse for most of its life?

Beba Hojt
beba h7 years ago

This is a tragedy!!!One of the reasons I am vegetarian is because of the brutality of factory farming!!!It should be illegal to treat animals in this way--they are not food, they are living beings with a soul just like us--eating animals disrespects the gift of life that God gives us and to treat animals in such a horrific way just shows how primitive and harsh our culture really is!!!