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Quarter of a Million Dead After Fire

Written by PETA | March 26, 2010

In a recent fire on an Ohio egg farm, 250,000 hens died after they were left in two sheds that had the electricity knocked out in order to battle the fire. Once the fire was squelched, all the birds were “euthanized” (we don’t know how they were killed) because, according to a spokeswoman for Ohio Fresh Eggs, it was the “humane thing to do.”


battery cages


First, take a minute to soak in the fact that there were more than 250,000 hens crammed into two sheds. Chickens on egg farms are packed into battery cages so tightly that they don’t even have enough room to lie down, and the cages are stacked from floor to ceiling. They have their beaks seared off without being given any painkillers, and for up to two years they endure relentless cycles of egg-laying. When they become too weak to produce eggs they are trucked to slaughterhouses, where their legs are slammed into metal shackles and they have their throats cut while they are still conscious and able to feel pain.

Animals who are crammed by the thousands into warehouse-like buildings are often out of luck when disaster strikes, because it’s not cost-effective for farm operators (and they certainly don’t care enough) to take the time to implement evacuation plans. The loss of life caused by fires, floods, and other disasters is all too common on factory farms.

Of course, any animal who has suffered through a tragedy like this should be given a humane release from pain, but the representative also declined to comment on the method that was used to kill these poor chickens. If it’s anything like the way many egg farms “euthanize” their male chicks—by leaving them to suffocate in plastic bags or by sending them through giant meat grinders while they are still alive—then I would say that “humane” isn’t part of the equation.

Want to make sure that tragedies like these don’t continue to occur? Go vegan.

Written by Heather Drennan

Commenting is closed.
  • Brittany says:

    Oh my gosh this is horrible. I can’t see how anyone would want to do this to any poor animal. this is just wrong. i can’t believe it. i hate how horrible some people are to animals. i mean putting that many chickens in two sheds? how could they produce anything? and besides who said its the humans job to decide what’s humane to do or not? leave the poor animals be. they dont need you interfering with their lives.

  • Joanna says:

    This weekend I visited the farm I buy eggs from at my local grocery store. They say on the box certified humane and that they allowed tours. It was very interesting what is considered ‘humane’. All the chickens were in a large shed and loose but it was not ‘free range’ like you think. It was cage free. They had natural light and could get outside by a large door. But there was no grass. I don’t know but it did not really look like a great life to me. I think you have to raise your own or go to a really home grown type ranch to get humane eggs. Any thing commercial regardless of the lable is not likely to be creature friendly. I went home and made some vegan food and am thinking about it.

  • Gene Sengstake says:

    Why do places like this even exist? Because we the consumers go into a grocery story and buy eggs off the shelf without even taking pause to consider how they got there. So don’t blame the pathetic people who run these operations. They don’t give a tinkers dam about the chickens as long as they’re making money. Just like in the “drug” problem let’s take a good hard look at the end user. That’s where the problem lies. Put them out of business by buying only eggs from a local producer that you can actually “verify” their runnning a reputable operation. So if you “really care” about tragedies like this and even just the immorality of the business itself get busy and do your part

  • Melissa says:

    This is sick I live right outside the town where this farm was and on the news they talked about it like it was no big deal. They said all these chickens died but no humans were hurt. It really makes me angry to see this. I was going to send you this story after I saw it on the news if you hadn’t posted anything on it yet.

  • Paul Howard says:

    When looking at the picture remember that if not for the flash of the camera there would be practically no light at all.

  • NT says:

    What a terrible life and death these beautiful creatures suffered! they are in a better place now. Finally.

  • Kay says:

    If you’re going to eat meat don’t be lazy and just grow your own. It helps to know your Christmas dinner spent a really good life.

  • cesar says:

    Share this story on facebook and spread the word. If you have to eat eggs make sure they have the “Certified Humane” or even better the “Animal Welfare Approved” label so your conscience is guiltfree.

  • Stephen A Marchant says:

    This is very heartbreaking… to know farmers don’t care about their livestock as they should. After watching the movie “Earthlings” seeing some of the news here…. I can’t do it anymore. I will NEVER buy meat products or animal clothing. Where do I sign up?

  • Valerie says:

    What a horrible picture. Their entire lives are spent in this hell never seeing daylight or breathing fresh air. It’s worth avoiding eggs which are gross anyway.

  • Heiata says:

    It’s so sad!250 000 hens crammed? i never imagine how hens and chikens lived before this article. That is horrible!!!

  • J D Allinder says:

    Oh this is such a horrifying story. It’s almost more than I can handle thinking about those poor beasts. At least they won’t suffer anymore.

  • Dawn says:

    That’s sad!