Written by Alisa Mullins
The Egg Products Inspection Act Amendments
of 2013, which Congress is currently considering, could keep hens used by the egg
industry confined to cages forever. The legislation is spearheaded by the industry's trade association, the United
Egg Producers, and, if passed, may overturn existing bans on cages for hens and
legitimize and engrain so-called "enriched" or "furnished"
cages at a time when many people and corporations are advocating for a move
away from all cages. We at PETA are pragmatists and support reduced
suffering, but even an egg industry lawyer has said that the humane groups who
support this bill have "caved":
Misleadingly named "furnished"
cages can house as many as 60 birds. The allotted space is still minuscule, the noise is overwhelming,
the stress factors are enormous, the
privacy a hen seeks in nature for her egg-laying activities is not available to her, and veterinary
care is totally lacking. Such cages
are not even remotely humane. At best, they are slightly less cruel. It is time
for true reform, not industry-fueled deception. Please join us in opposing all
cages for hens on egg farms.
What You Can Do
help protect hens by e-mailing
your representatives and urging them to vote against the Egg Products Inspection
Act Amendments of 2013.
You can also help by never
buying any eggs (even so-called "free-range" eggs
usually come from hens confined to
filthy factory-farm conditions). Instead of eggs, try scrambled tofu for breakfast, and use egg replacers such as mashed tofu, cornstarch, and ground flaxseeds in
your baked goods.
Ever wonder what hens would say if they could describe their lives on egg factory farms? Wonder no more:
"For as long as I can remember, I've been locked in this crowded, filthy cage," says the "hen" in the video. "Day after day, month after month, this is my entire life."
Hens crammed into cages on egg farms barely have room to lift a wing, much less take more than a step or two in any direction. But while consumers are increasingly concerned about the way in which they're raised, rather than being rid of cages altogether, hens are in danger of being confined to cages indefinitely. But they don't need slightly larger cages or "enriched" cages—they need no cages.
The only way to ensure that hens escape the hell of being confined to abysmally crowded, filthy cages or huge warehouses is never to buy eggs (even so-called "free-range" eggs).
Instead of eggs, try scrambled tofu for breakfast, and use egg replacers such as mashed tofu, cornstarch, and ground flaxseeds in your baked goods.
Last week, PETA Germany released the findings of its undercover investigation of three "free-range" egg farms. What the group found was pretty much the same kind of horror story that we've had in the U.S. and the U.K.: Far from the idyllic barnyards that people might associate with "humanely raised" or "free-range" eggs, the investigators for PETA Germany found thousands of hens confined to filthy, windowless sheds, just as chickens on "ordinary" factory farms are. The investigators videotaped dead and dying chickens among the living. Many birds were crawling with parasites, were missing most of their feathers, and had large sores all over their bodies, some of which oozed pus. In Germany, eggs labeled "bio " (organic and "humane") are supposed to come from chickens with access to the outdoors, but PETA Germany's investigators showed that the birds' access to the outdoors was often impeded or blocked, sometimes by live electrical wires!
On one farm, the investigators found exposed 15,000-volt electrical wiring that was shooting sparks. The hot wiring effectively confined birds to one section of the barn. In February, a neighboring barn with similar defective wiring burned down, killing 19,000 birds.
In 2010, PETA Germany caught another farm violating Germany's "bio" seal. The farmer now produces "free-range" eggs—the standards for which are less strict than those for the "bio" seal —but PETA Germany's most recent investigation documented apparent violations of those standards as well. The farmer has failed to provide the more than 9,000 chickens confined to his barns with minimum required space.
The 'Free-Range' Scam
"Free-range," "humanely raised," and "certified" labels in the U.S. can also be deceptive. The U.S. Department of Agriculture requires that "free-range" animals have access to outdoor areas, but the birds don't actually have to go outside, and some are too afraid to or are barred by impediments. United Egg Producers uses a label that reads, "United Egg Producers Certified," but this program is not regulated or enforced, and investigations have shown that companies using this label often do not treat chickens any differently than conventional factory farms do.
In fact, most "free-range" hens live in the same miserable, filthy factory farm conditions that "broiler" chickens (raised for their flesh) do. And like other factory-farmed hens, free-range hens are killed when their egg production begins to wane, at about 2 years of age.
Want to help hens? Stop eating eggs altogether. It's not hard. Just opt for egg replacers in baked goods and whip up some tasty, heart-healthy scrambled tofu for breakfast. For more hen-friendly cooking ideas, visit PETA.org/Living.
Written by Michelle Kretzer
you ever gotten that "caged animal" feeling? Now everyone who uses the
elevator at PETA's Norfolk, Virginia office, and PETA's office in Los Angeles, the Bob Barker Building, will have it,
thanks to our new elevator experience that gives visitors the feeling of being chickens inside a battery cage
on an egg factory farm.
by photos of cage bars and suffering chickens, the rider can read the writing
on the wall: "Imagine being trapped in this elevator for life with no room
to turn around. That's how a caged hen feels. Please, for chickens' sake, join
us by going vegan."
hope is that as the elevator begins to move, visitors will be moved to think
about the fact that each hen on an egg farm is shoved into a cage with five to
11 other hens and not enough room even to spread her wings. Part of her beak,
filled with nerve endings, will be cut off with a searing-hot blade. When her
egg production wanes, she'll be violently killed.
after their elevator ride, visitors who still eat eggs will choose to take the
steps … the steps leading to a more compassionate lifestyle.
a friend to hens and tweet this photo or post it to Facebook.
Birds of a
feather flocked to PETA's L.A. office this weekend for what was quite possibly
the world's cluckiest adoption fair. Seventy-eight hens made themselves a
comfortable roost in the Bob
Barker Building while adopters listened to the hens' story and snacked on vegan egg-salad
The hens had
been used by egg producer A&L Poultry until the company went out of business last February and simply left 50,000 hens
to die in battery cages without any food or water. Two weeks after A&L shut
its doors, Animal Place sanctuary and other animal advocates got wind of how
A&L ran afoul of the fowl and rushed in to rescue the hens. Many had
already died or were too ill to save, but rescuers were able to save nearly 4,500
hens and nurse them to health.
At the adoption
event that PETA hosted, the blissful birds got a Hollywood ending when they
were whisked away by SoCal families who will let the birds be birds and finally live the life that they deserve.
Written by PETA
Update: Great news! The
monks at Mepkin Abbey now have a thriving mushroom business.
After PETA's protests, boycotts, and complaints to government agencies, the
monks re-examined their egg farm and discovered that they can get all their
needs met without harming animals.
The following was originally posted on December 20, 2007:
We've just heard the news that the monks at Mepkin Abbey have decided to phase out their egg-production business over the next year and a half following pressure from PETA, including protests of the monastery that are going on today. According to the Associated Press, Mepkin's Father Stan Gumula said late last night that the focus on the monks' practices as a result of PETA's investigation has been too much of a distraction, and that they will be looking for a new industry to help meet their expenses.
PETA Vice President Bruce Friedrich points out that South Carolina had the 6th highest peanut production among U.S. states last year (quite how he knows such things, I have no idea), and recommends that the monks go into the booming business of peanut butter packaging, where they can pack the peanuts as tight as they like without any fear of our getting on their case about it. In fact, we might be their first customers. My own vote is more traditional—there's nothing quite like a good Trappist Ale.
Whatever they end up deciding, this is nothing short of a Christmas miracle for the chickens who have suffered for so long at Mepkin Abbey, and we commend the monks for their compassionate decision.
Written by Heather Faraid Drennan
It never hurts to
brush up on answers to questions about animal issues—even seasoned protesters can
get a stumper from passersby now and then. See if you know the answers to the
following five questions that often pop up in discussions about animal rights:
What's wrong with eggs and dairy products
from "free-range" animals? There
are no standards for what "free-range"
means, so animals on such farms may still spend most of their time in filthy,
crowded sheds. Cruel practices such as searing off hens' beaks with a hot blade
and relegating male calves to veal crates occur, and when the animals stop producing enough eggs
or milk, they are sent to the same slaughterhouses as factory-farmed animals.
If we don't test on animals, what
other methods are available? Computer
simulations, cell cultures, human cadavers, and clinical trials are just some
of the many options researchers can use instead of animal testing to obtain more accurate and
davedehtre|cc by 2.0
What's wrong with wearing wool? In Australia—where most of the
world's merino wool comes from—sheep have been bred to have excessively wrinkled skin in order to
produce more wool. The wrinkles collect moisture, which attracts flies, so many
farmers resort to "mulesing," a gruesome and cruel procedure in which
huge chunks of skin and flesh are cut from lambs' backsides in a crude attempt
to prevent flystrike.
Should we put endangered animals
in zoos? Endangered
animals bred in zoos
are rarely released into the wild. Instead, they will spend their lives "warehoused"
in cramped enclosures that cannot come close to replicating their natural
habitats. As a result, many develop stereotypic behaviors such as pacing, rocking
from side to side, and self-mutilation. The only humane and effective way to combat
extinction is to protect animals' habitats.
What's wrong with using a choke
or prong collar on my dog? As
their names imply, choke
and prong collars inflict discomfort and pain, and they can severely injure dogs' necks and
throats. Far safer and more humane options are no-pull harnesses and halters
like the Easy Walk,
Halti, or even a standard figure-H harness. For cruelty-free dog-training tips, check
out celebrity dog trainer Tamar
Geller's video series for PETA.
Have another animal
rights question that you've always wondered about? Visit PETA's Frequently Asked Questions
McDonald's has kicked its PR machine
into high gear after a terrific undercover investigation by
Mercy for Animals at Sparboe
of McDonald's primary egg suppliers, revealed that workers grabbed hens by the
throat and slammed them into cages, that an employee swung a hen by her feet, that
male chicks were tossed into plastic bags to suffocate, that rotting corpses of
hens were left in cages with live birds, and other horrendous abuses.
response, McDonald's announced that it will stop buying eggs from Sparboe Farms.
Hang on, though—don't let McDonald's PR move lead you to believe that this will
make a real difference for animals. We've seen it before. What Mercy for Animals
uncovered is business as
for factory farms, as countless PETA investigations, even of other McDonald's suppliers,
One example: A 2007 PETA
of a Union City, Tennessee, slaughterhouse that supplies McDonald's with much of
its chicken flesh revealed that employees yanked birds out of shackles so
aggressively that they broke the birds' legs, amused themselves by forcing as
many as six chickens into a shackle that was designed for one bird, and
forcefully slammed chickens against shackles. The electrified water bath that
is supposed to stun chickens before their throats are cut was not working for
two days, and slaughterhouse operators knowingly
allowed tens of thousands of chickens to have their throats slit while the
birds were still conscious.
isn't good enough for McDonald's to simply switch to buying eggs from another
lousy supplier with no stricter standards of "care" than the previous
cruel supplier. On filthy, intensive-confinement farms—which describes every
one of McDonald's and KFC's suppliers—hens are crammed into feces-filled wire
cages with less space than a sheet of paper for each bird, and chicks' beaks are
burned off without painkillers.
consumers must demand are meaningful reforms and an end to the worst abuses
suffered by the chickens killed for McDonald's and KFC. Here's one way to help
chickens: Encourage the chains to switch to a less-cruel slaughter method
All the abuses that chickens suffer in slaughterhouses would be eliminated if
McDonald's required its suppliers to switch to CAK, because with CAK, the birds
are dead before they are shackled, bled, and scalded in defeathering tanks. Yet
McDonald's and KFC have dragged their feet for years instead of switching
methods, even though CAK is approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and even
though McDonald's European suppliers adopted this method years ago.
beware: If you eat at McDonald's or KFC, you're eating food created via extreme
cruelty to animals. Please boycott these companies and click here to tell them
that you're not lovin' their chicken
Do you know one of those people who says, "I'm a vegetarian, but I still eat chicken"? Considering that chickens are arguably the most abused animals on the planet, they should be one of the first animals we remove from our plates—and there's no better time to do that than World Week for Abolition of Meat.
Chickens' cognitive skills rival those of cats, dogs, and, in some cases, primates. They are adept communicators who develop complex social structures. Chickens show deep love for their family members and care for others in their group. A mother chicken starts teaching her chicks to "talk" before they have even hatched, clucking softly to them, and they cluck back to her and each other from inside their shells. Human babies cannot replicate their mothers' sounds until they are several months old.
But the billions of chickens who are slaughtered for food or crammed into cages and used for eggs suffer horribly throughout their short lives.
If you know someone who still eats chickens, please share this information with them and ask them to become a champion for chickens.
Written by Michelle Sherrow
One surprising item in the news today (h/t Treehugger) is a story about activists with the Israeli group Anonymous for Animal Rights.
For the last few years, Anonymous has been campaigning against the use of cruel battery cages on egg factory farms. Now, the group has put a hidden webcam inside a battery cage on an egg factory farm in Israel, streaming live video showing exactly what life is like for hens who are forced to live in these cramped wire-mesh cages. So far, the owners of the farm haven't been able to locate the camera—but, as you might imagine, they're apparently trying to find it.
As Treehugger put it (an understatement, to say the least), "It does not make for pleasant viewing." In the short time that I watched, I saw the caged birds pecking at each other in obvious frustration, and, as is apparent from the abuse, neglect, filth, and cruelty exposed by PETA's many undercover investigations, the situation is often even uglier for animals on factory farms.
Written by Jeff Mackey
you have a general question for PETA and would like a response, please e-mail Info@peta.org. If you need to report cruelty to
an animal, please click
here. If you are reporting an animal in imminent danger and know where to find the
animal and if the abuse is taking place right now, please call your local
police department. If the police are unresponsive, please call PETA
immediately at 757-622-7382 and press 2.
Follow PETA on Twitter!
Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights? Read more.